Delta Downs Jackpot winner Texcess among favorites for Sunday's Snow Chief Stakes.

Delta Downs Jackpot winner Texcess among favorites for Sunday's Snow Chief Stakes.


Crowded Gold Rush Includes Thor's Echo

(from Hollywood Park report)
Thor's Echo and Texcess, 3-year-olds distinguished by lucrative victories, head 12 entrants in Sunday's $250,000 Cal National Snow Chief Stakes at 1 1/16 miles.

The Snow Chief is the centerpiece of the ten stakes races that constitute Hollywood Park's $1.3 million Cal National Gold Rush exclusively for California breds.

The sixth Gold Rush gets underway at 1:20 p.m., offers a $1 million Pick Six guarantee. The ten races, which include six stakes worth $150,000 or more, attracted 107 entrants.

Thor's Echo, who captured Sunland Park's $500,000 WinStar Derby under Corey Nakatani on April 2, was high weighted at 124 pounds for the Snow Chief after his connections resisted Kentucky Derby (gr. I) temptation to remain at home. Texcess, who took the $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot in Louisiana last year as a juvenile, was assigned 121 pounds.

Sold privately to Royce Jaime and Pablo Suarez after his first two races, Thor's Echo added $270,000 to his earnings with his victory in the WinStar Derby. With a 2-1-1 record in four starts for overall earnings of $321,560, the chestnut gelding will make his third start for trainer Doug O'Neill on Sunday. O'Neill set a Santa Anita record with 54 training victories at the winter meet that concluded on Monday.

Texcess was on the Derby trail before faltering in the Lanes End Stakes (gr. II) at Kentucky's Turfway Park on March 26 when fading to last over a muddy racetrack. The son of In Excess pulled a muscle in a stifle, according to trainer Paul Aguirre, who co-owns the bay gelding with Omar Aldabbagh. Treatments with an acupuncturist helped to heal the injury. Rene Douglas will be back aboard the $85,000 Barretts Sale purchase who has banked $763,427 from his 3-2-1 showing in seven starts.

$250,000 Cal National Snow Chief Stakes, 3-year-old bred in California, 1 1/8 miles
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight
1. Tommy's Topper, Isaias Enriquez, 114
2. New Cloud, Matt Garcia, 114
3. Robador, Jose Valdivia Jr., 114
4. Proud Tower Too, Felipe Martinez, 114
5. Top This And That, Alex Solis, 114
6. Thor's Echo, Corey Nakatani, 124
7. Lucky J.H., Victor Espinoza, 117
8. Panama Lane, Tyler Baze, 114
9. Slewsbag, Patrick Valenzuela, 114
10. King Mobay, Garrett Gomez, 117
11. Texcess, Rene Douglas, 121
12. Regal Pan, M. O. Gould, 114

The $200,000 Melair Stakes, the Snow Chief's counterpart for 3-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles, is headed by Merv Griffin's Cee's Irish. The winner of the $259,000 Sunland Park Oaks will carry high weight of 124 pounds against ten contemporaries. The roan daughter of Cee's Tizzy trained by O'Neill has posted a 4-3-0 mark in nine starts for earnings of $335,480.

$200,000 Melair Stakes, 3-year-old fillies bred in California, 1 1/16 miles
1. Charming Colleen, Jon Court, 114
2. Two Times Won, Douglas, 114
3. Queenmab'sdaughter, Solis, 117
4. Lady Bertrando, Joe Campbell, 114
5. Unusual Spring, Valenzuela, 117
6. Dayglogreen, Danny Sorenson, 117
7. Hold the Game, Omar Figueroa, 117
8. Cee's Irish, Nakatani, 124
9. Leave Me Alone, Tyler Baze, 114
10. Last Dance for Me, Gomez, 114
11. Never to Excess, Espinoza, 114

A pair of grade I winners, Dream of Summer and Alphabet Kisses, will race side-by-side in the $150,000 B. Thoughtful Stakes for fillies and mares at seven furlongs. Dream of Summer is making a swift return to action following a dramatic triumph in the Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) at Oaklawn Park on April 9. Just outside of her in post No. 2 among nine runners will be Alphabet Kisses, who took the La Brea Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita Dec. 27. They are co-high weights at 124 pounds.

A 6-year-old roan mare sired by Siberian Summer, Dream of Summer has become one of the nation's elite older females for owner-breeder James Weigel. Her record of 8-2-2 in 13 starts for earnings of $844,650 includes three graded stakes victories as well as a loss to Tarlow by a nose in the Santa Margarita Handicap (gr. I) at Santa Anita in March. Juan Garcia trains Dream of Summer.

Alphabet Kisses, who will be ridden by Gary Stevens, is a 4-year-old roan filly with earnings of $366,910 from her 5-2-1 record in ten starts. Marty Jones trains for Harris Farms.

$150,000 B. Thoughtful Stakes, fillies & mares 4 & up bred in California, 7 furlongs
1. Dream of Summer, Valenzuela, 124
2. Alphabet Kisses, Stevens, 124
3. Thunder's Echo, Alex Bisono, 120
4. Market Garden, Gomez, 120
5. Strut Your Stuff, Tyler Baze, 117
6. Tucked Away, Solis, 122
7. Five Star Meeting, Nakatani, 120
8. Run Rebecca Run, Espinoza, 120
9. Mini Skirt, Figueroa, 114

Valentine Dancer, winner of the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf at Gulfstream Park in January, tops six fillies and mares entered in the $150,000 Fran's Valentine Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on turf. Cheiron, victorious in last year's Snow Chief, resurfaces on grass as the 124-pound high weight among seven entrants in the $150,000 TVG Khaled Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on turf. And Red Warrior, Sunshine Millions Sprint champion, will break from the rail as the 124-pound highweight among ten contestants in the $150,000 Tiznow Stakes at 7 1/2 furlongs, which also drew multiple graded winner Yougottawanna and grade III winner Areyoutalkintome.

Four overnight stakes races complete the Cal National California Gold Rush program.