Black Bart, a $16,000 claim who has earned $219,909 for his new connections in about six months, goes after his first graded victory on Sunday in Hollywood Park's $150,000 American Handicap (gr. IIT) at 1 1/8 miles on turf.It will be a tall order for the dark bay gelding, who has won five of seven starts this year including four non-graded stakes races. His competition includes multi-millionaire Sarafan, high weight at 119 pounds in the field of five, and Bayamo, second by less than one length to Sabiango in the June 12 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap (gr. I).Trained by Troy Bainum for Tom Metzger, Black Bart has blossomed over grass surfaces. His only defeat in six turf races for Bainum and Metzger was by a head in the Turf Paradise Breeders' Cup Handicap. He was claimed at Hollywood Park Dec. 19 and has subsequently won six of eight races overall."They've done an incredible job with this horse," said Alex Solis after riding Black Bart for the first time in his last start, a two-length victory in the June 13 Quicken Tree Stakes. "It's really pretty remarkable. He's turned out to be a special horse.""I think grass has been the key," Bainum said following the Quicken Tree. "Grass, stretching out, and we've placed him very well. We've placed him in spots with Cal-breds."Black Bart has been ambitiously placed on Sunday. Sarafan, a 7-year-old gelding trained by Neil Drysdale for Gary A. Tanaka, has earned $2,411,271 from nine wins in 39 starts. He took the Eddie Read (gr. IT) at Del Mar in 2002 and missed by a nose that year of winning the $3,898,000 Japan Cup (Jpn-I).Irish-bred Bayamo is a lightly raced 5-year-old gelding trained by Julio Canani for Prestonwood Farm. He stumbled at the start of the recent Whittingham when defeated by three-quarters of a length. Bayamo's 3-1-2 record in eight career starts has generated earnings of $151,428.
$150,000 American Handicap (gr. IIT), 3 & up, 1 1/8 mile on turf
PP. Horse, Jockey, Wgt.
1. Black Bart, Alex Solis, 116
2. Sarafan, Corey Nakatani, 119
3. R McLennen, Alex Bisono, 109
4. Bayamo, David Flores, 117
5. Night Patrol, Victor Espinoza, 113