Sizzling Sweet Return Tops Shoemaker Cast

(from Hollywood Park notes)
Sweet Return, the winner of three consecutive graded stakes, attempts to extend his streak in the $350,000 Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) Monday at Hollywood Park.

The Shoemaker is the co-feature on Hollywood's Memorial Day live card along with the Gamely Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IT) for fillies and mares.

British-bred Sweet Return comes into the Shoemaker Mile with a string of wins that began with the $600,000 Hollywood Derby (gr. IT) Nov. 30. The 4-year-old, trained by Hall of Famer Ron McAnally for Red Oak Stable, followed with victories at Santa Anita in the San Marcos Stakes and Frank E. Kilroe Mile (both gr. IIT).

"He's the ideal kind of horse," McAnally said of the chestnut colt who will be seeking millionaire status after earning $913,811 from a 5-4-4 record in 17 starts. "He can be on the lead or come from behind. The turf can be hard or soft. He can win at a mile or longer."

Handled in most of his recent starts by Gary Stevens, currently riding in France, Sweet Return will be joined on Memorial Day by Victor Espinoza, striving for his first Shoemaker triumph. With the mount on probable choice Megahertz in the Gamely, Espinoza is positioned for a memorable holiday.

Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, who last won the Shoemaker with Exbourne in 1991, has supplemented Leroidesanimaux to the event following the Brazilian import's record-breaking win in the Inglewood Handicap (gr. IIIT) on May 1. Leroidesanimaux's winning time of 1:38.45 set a course record for 1 1/16 miles over Hollywood Park's grass layout. Jon Court will be back aboard.

The connections of Singletary, who has beaten Sweet Return once in four meetings, are hoping that the race sets up for the colt's late-running style. Singletary is fresh off a fast-closing victory in the San Francisco Breeders' Cup Mile Handicap (gr. IIT) at Bay Meadows on April 24.

"He looks real good and we're going to empty the tank here," said trainer Don Chatlos Jr. of the colt named after Chicago Bears Hall of Fame linebacker Mike Singletary. "He won't run again until the Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile Handicap in October."

Trainer Mike Mitchell, enjoying the best year of his career, looks forward to a Memorial Day to remember. Mitchell will send out Dell Place in the Shoemaker in quest of his first grade I victory and richest purse.

Earlier in the day, Mitchell will saddle Kela in the $300,000 Lone Star Park Handicap (gr. III) in Texas. Jay Manoogian owns both horses.

Dell Place is one of four Shoemaker entrants supplemented to the race for $7,000 each.

"I bought him privately off Tom Proctor (trainer for Leonard Lavin's Glen Hill Farm) at the end of Del Mar last year," said Mitchell. "Tom was leaving to go back east and felt this was a horse that should really stay here because he liked the firm turf out here and not the soft turf back there.

"I gave him three months off this winter at Bobby Mitchell's Bonnie Acres in Hemet because his back was bothering him," said Mitchell. "After he won here opening week, I kind of waited to see how he came out of it before deciding to supplement to the Shoemaker. A mile is a good distance for him."

Mitchell plans to fly to Texas Saturday and said his crew will saddle Dell Place.

The 56-year-old trainer continues to roll along atop the meet standings at a 40% winning clip with 16 wins from 40 starters. For the year, he is 44-for-157, a 28% average.

Two of the nine entrants in the Shoemaker blew out three furlongs on the main track Friday. Tsigane was timed in a brisk :34 3/5 for three-time Shoemaker winner Julio Canani, while Momentum was clocked in :37 1/5 for his first start in 19 months for trainer Craig Dollase.

Momentum and Glick were also supplemented to the race.

$350,000 Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT), 3 & up, one mile on turf
PP. Horse, Jockey
1. Singletary, Jose Valdivia Jr.
2. Tsigane, David Flores
3. Glick, Kerwin John
4. Sweet Return, Victor Espinoza
5. King of Happiness, Kent Desormeaux
6. Leroidesanimaux, Jon Court
7. Momentum, Corey Nakatani
8. Dell Place, Javier Santiago
9. Designed for Luck, Patrick Valenzuela
All will carry 124 pounds.