Continental Red Sails Into Sunset

Trainer Ian Jory hopes that Continental Red has better luck in Hollywood Park's $150,000 Sunset Handicap (gr. IIT), the 1 1/2-mile closing day turf feature, than he did last year.

Continental Red stalked a dawdling pace last year and fell short of long shot winner Grammarian by a head. The winner drifted out in the stretch, producing a lengthy steward inquiry, but no changes were made.

"The jockeys kind of fell asleep during that race," said Jory. "But I think he should have won it anyway. The other horse should have been disqualified."

Continental Red, a 7-year-old California-bred gelding, gets another chance in the Sunset under meet-leading rider Patrick Valenzuela, who was also a tough-luck third in the race last year on fast-closing Lord Flasheart.

Continental Red, bred by Wes Fitzpatrick and owned by his wife Sharon, completed drills Tuesday with an easy half in :48 2/5 breezing. He has recorded seven firsts, nine seconds and ten thirds in 50 starts and earned $906,203.

Continental Red is the 116-pound co-high weight (with Cagney) in the nine-horse field.

Cagney comes off a game third-place finish at Hollywood, 1 1/4 length behind victorious Storming Home in the 1 1/4-mile Charles Whittingham (gr. IT) on June 15.

Asong for Billy, a 4-year-old gelding claimed at Hollywood one year ago for $40,000, attempts to give trainer Paul Aguirre his biggest victory Sunday.

Since claiming the horse for Alex Wong of Arcadia, Asong for Billy has won five of eight starts and earned nearly $200,000. He gave Aguirre his biggest victory in the $100,000 Pomona Derby last year.

Aguirre, 46, aims for his richest purse and first graded stakes victory in the turf marathon. He just missed earlier in the year with All the Boys, another profitable claim that finished second in the San Juan Capistrano Handicap (gr. IT) at Santa Anita.

Asong for Billy comes off a wire-to-wire allowance victory at 1 1/4 miles on the turf June 22.

Aguirre is enjoying another big meet with 16 wins from 57 starters, good for fifth place in the standings.

Tifonica, a 5-year-old Argentine-bred mare, will run against males for the first time.

Tifonica comes off a two-length victory in a $55,000 allowance race against females at 1 1/4 miles on the Hoillywood turf June 5 for trainer and co-owner Bill Currin.

"She can run all day, and there are no girl races at a mile and a half," explained Currin of his decision.

Tifonica has recorded two firsts, three seconds and five thirds in 12 starts, all against females. Tyler Baze has the call back on the mare, who lugs only 109 pounds with her five-pound sex allowance.

Tifonica seeks to become the first female in 13 years to win the Sunset and the third in the 62-year history of the race. Petite Ile, a 4-year-old filly then, was the last distaffer to win the Sunset in 1990.Typecast, then 6, was the first in 1972.

$150,000 Sunset Handicap (gr. IIT), 3 & up, 1 1/2 mile on turf
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Nates Colony (KY), 112, Anthony J. Lovato
2. Tifonica (ARG), 109, Tyler Baze
3. Puerto Banus (KY), 113, Victor Espinoza
4. Asong for Billy (KY), 113, Goncalino F. Almeida
5. Cagney (BRZ), 116, Mike E. Smith
6. Stormin' Heaven (KY), 114, Jose Valdivia, Jr.
7. Continental Red (CA), 116, Patrick A. Valenzuela
8. Night Patrol (KY), 114, Julie A. Krone
9. Nazirali (IRE), 115, David R. Flores