Californian Perfect Chance for Even the Score

(from Hollywood Park notes)
Even the Score, a two-length winner of the Mervyn LeRoy Handicap (gr. II) on May 8, figures to be favored among nine entrants in the 1 1/8-mile Californian (gr. II) Saturday at Hollywood Park.

A victory in the $250,000 Californian would move Even the Score two-thirds of the way toward becoming the only horse other than Eleven Stitches in 1981 to sweep the spring/summer meet's series for older horses that concludes with the July 10 Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I).

Trained by Vladimir Cerin for Rosendo Parra, Even the Score won the Mervyn LeRoy at 5-1 odds while racing at Hollywood Park for the first time. He has mostly campaigned in the east and midwest. It was the 6-year-old gray's second start for Cerin and followed a third-place finish in Santa Anita's San Bernardino Handicap (gr. III).

Even the Score, who breaks from the extreme outside post, carries top weight of 118 pounds, two pounds more than the rest of the field.

Jockey David Flores said the Kentucky bred needed the San Bernardino effort.

"I think there is more improvement left in him," Flores said following the Mervyn LeRoy. Even the Score's overall earnings are $511,629 from an 8-1-8 record in 27 starts.

Total Impact, a 6-year-old Chilean-bred horse, won the Mervyn LeRoy Handicap in 2003, but went to the sidelines for seven months and was unable to run in last year's Californian.

Winless in six starts since his comeback, Total Impact finished second in the San Bernardino Handicap behind Dynever. He was third in the Mervyn LeRoy despite being carried five wide and worked a bullet six furlongs in 1:11 on June 3 at San Luis Rey Downs.

Nose The Trade will make his first start since March for trainer Bobby Frankel. An English-bred 6-year-old gelding, he finished second in both the Native Diver Handicap at Hollywood in December and San Pasqual Handicap at Santa Anita in January. He went to the sidelines after a disappointing effort in the Tokyo City Handicap at Santa Anita on March 13 but has recorded a series of sharp works at Hollywood Park during the past month.

Frankel seeks his third Californian victory in four years and fourth overall after previous scores with Tinners Way in 1996, Skimming in 2001 and Milwaukee Brew in 2002.

$250,000 Californian (gr. II), 3 & up, 1 1/8 mile
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight
1. Gene De Campeao, Omar Berrio, 116
2. Nose The Trade, Alex Solis, 116
3. Ender's Shadow, Mick Ruis, 116
4. Mud Shark, Martin Pedroza, 116
5. Gift of the Eagle, Jon Court, 116
6. Fonz's, Tyler Baze, 116
7. Buckland Manor, Javier Santiago, 116
8. Total Impact, Mike Smith, 116
9. Even the Score, David Flores, 118