Sailors Sunset returns to defend his title in the Los Angeles Handicap.

Sailors Sunset returns to defend his title in the Los Angeles Handicap.


LA 'Cap: Sailors Sunset Looks For Repeat

Bonfante and Bilo could play a mjor factor May 9 at Hollywood park.

Eight older sprinters will try to knock off Everest Stables’ homebred Sailors Sunset, who looks for the repeat in the $100,000 Los Angeles Handicap (gr. III) May 10 at Hollywood Park.

The six-furlong Los Angeles Handicap will be run on the Cushion Track. It is the last of three graded stakes on the 10-race program.

A 5-year-old son of Petionville, Sailors Sunset has not won since last year’s edition of the Los Angeles, when he defeated Peace Chant by a half-length. The gray/roan gelding is 0-for-4 since then, including a third-place finish in the Phoenix Gold Cup Handicap Feb. 16 at Turf Paradise. He is trained by Marcelo Polanco.

Out of the Wolf Power mare Cayman Sunset, Kentucky-bred Sailors Sunset is 6-4-3 from 21 starts. The Los Angeles is his lone graded stakes score. Jon Court, who was aboard in last year’s triumph, will ride.

Peace Chant, who led into the stretch in the 2007 Los Angeles, is also back for another crack. The 5-year-old War Chant horse was given the rest of the year off after that race.

“He chipped his right hind ankle and underwent surgery,” explained trainer Richard Mandella. “He’s doing good now and we’re sure going to try and win Saturday.”

Peace Chant was off the board in his only two starts since his comeback, but ran well while finishing fourth in the April 5 Potrero Grande Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita. Michael Baze will ride.

The one to beat may be Frankfurt Stables and Eugene Tenbrink’s homebred Bonfante. The 7-year-old Fruition gelding is 2-for-2 this year and has done no worse than second in his last five starts – all in stakes competition.

Trained by Ron McAnally, Bonfante opened the campaign by scoring the six-furlong Bay Meadows Sprint Handicap (gr. III) by 4 ½ lengths, stalking the pace before pulling away in the stretch. After that, McAnally moved him to turf, where the California-bred came from off the pace to get up by a head in the April 5 California Turf Sprint Championship Handicap, also at Bay Meadows.

Bonfante has been very consistent in his career, going 12-6-3 from 31 starts. He will carry a co-high weight of 119 pounds. Martin Garcia gets the call.

The other rival carrying 119 pounds is Scott Anastasi and Dan Capen’s Bilo. The 8-year-old Bertrando gelding is the lone grade I winner in the field, earning that distinction when he took the seven-furlong Triple Bend Invitational Handicap (gr. I) last summer at Hollywood. Later in the season, Bilo scored the California Cup Sprint Handicap at Santa Anita.

In his only start this year, Bilo led into the stretch in the 1 1/8-mile Sunshine Millions Classic at Santa Anita, only to weaken to finish sixth. Trained by Mike Mitchell, Bilo could be taken to the front by Tyler Baze. He is 7-2-2 from 16 starts.

$100,000 Los Angeles Handicap (gr. III, Race 9, 5:20 p.m.), 3 & Up, Six Furlongs
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. High Standards (CA), 114, Joel Rosario
2. Peace Chant (KY), 115, Michael C. Baze
3. Street Boss (KY), 115, David Romero Flores
4. Bonfante (CA), 119, Martin Garcia
5. Doppio (KY), 115, Jose Valdivia, Jr.
6. Sailors Sunset (KY), 115, Jon Kenton Court
7. El Manuel (CHI), 115, Victor Espinoza
8. Bilo (CA), 119, Tyler Baze
9. Barber (KY), 114, Alex O. Solis