Staging Post Could Go Favored in Turf Cup

The loss of The Tin Man to an ankle injury one day before entries were drawn has cast Saturday's $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup (gr. IT) into a wide open competition among nine entrants in the 1 ½-mile event at Hollywood Park.

Favoritism could go to Staging Post, one of two horses to be saddled by national training leader Bobby Frankel, or Bowman Mill, the field's lone Southern California invader who is trained by Maryland-based Michael Dickinson.

Trainer Richard Mandella's The Tin Man, who had been primed for the Turf Cup following his fourth-place finish in the Oct. 25 Breeders' Cup Turf, sustained his injury Wednesday at Santa Anita. "He acts like he twisted his ankle," reported Mandella.

Staging Post, a Kentucky-bred 5-year-old who began his career at 2 in England, chased both victorious Runaway Dancer and runner-up Labirinto when seventh in Oak Tree's Carlton F. Burke (gr. IIIT) on Oct. 24. But he was boxed in along the rail while seemingly full of run through the stretch run of the 1 ½-mile race. Handicappers are expected to dismiss that effort while considering the Frankel factor. The Hall of Fame trainer has won a record 23 grade I competitions already this year. Second in last year's grade I San Juan Capistrano Handicap at Santa Anita, Staging Post has earned $188,187 from a career mark of 3-6-1 in 13 starts.

Runaway Dancer, who won the Burke by a neck at odds of 38-1, achieved his first graded stakes victory under jockey Mike Smith. Julie Krone replaces Smith, who was committed to handle The Tin Man.

Bowman Mill has made his last three starts at Woodbine in Toronto, Canada. Included is a victory in the Sky Classic Handicap (gr. IIT) at 1 3/8 miles. The Kentucky-bred son of Kris S. has posted a 4-3-0 record in ten career starts for earnings of $405,042. Trainer Dickinson, who won the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) twice with Da Hoss, captured the Frank De Francis Dash (gr. I) with A Huevo last Saturday at Laurel in Maryland.

$250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup (gr. IT), 3 & up, 1 1/2 mile on turf
PP. Horse, Rider
1. Hatif, Tyler Baze
2. Superiority, Ryan Fogelsonger
3. a-Staging Post, Patrick Valenzuela
4. a-Epicentre, Corey Nakatani
5. Labirinto, Brice Blanc
6. Continuously, Alex Solis
7. Bowman Mill, David Flores
8. Hataab, Victor Espinoza
9. Runaway Dancer, Julie Krone
a-Juddmonte Farms entry.
(All starters carry 126 pounds.)