The July 5 International Festival highlight is the $750,000 American Oaks, a grade I invitational for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/4 miles on the turf. The July 13 Gold Cup Festival is headed by the Gold Cup, a grade I fixture for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/4 miles, and the $400,000 Swaps Stakes, a grade II test for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles.
The Southern California Thoroughbred racing scene shifts to Hollywood Park April 23 for the Inglewood track's 65-day spring/summer meet that extends through June 20. A packed stakes schedule includes the $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup, a grade I event set for July 13.Racing at Hollywood will be held on a Wednesday-through-Sunday schedule that will include some Friday night racing. The first evening card is scheduled for April 25.Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, the longtime kingpin of racing in Northern California who is among the top six trainers nationally in both victories and earnings, plans to race a large string of his horses at Hollywood. Last year, Hollendorfer concentrated on Arlington Park during the spring and summer.Hollendorfer said he would stable between 30 and 40 horses at Hollywood, the largest number he has ever raced on a regular basis in Southern California."Racing in Southern California is the toughest in America," he said from his base at Bay Meadows, "and I'm looking forward to the challenge. Let's put it this way: I'm going to do what I can do down there."The action at Hollywood gets started early with the 10-stakes CITIBANK California Gold Rush program for California-breds April 26. Highlight of that program is the $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles.The Memorial Day Festival May 26 will feature three stakes headed by the $350,000 Gamely Breeders' Cup Handicap, a grade I event for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on the grass, and the $350,000 Shoemaker Mile, a grade I test for 3-year-olds and up on the grass.On June 14, the Governor's Festival will feature the $400,000 Californian, a grade II event for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles; the $350,000 Charlie Whittingham Memorial Handicap, a grade I event for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/4 miles on the turf; and the $200,000 Hollywood Breeders' Cup Oaks, a grade II race for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles.