Trainer Rafael Becerra said there was a good chance he would enter Carleton F. Burke Handicap winner Special Matter but wanted to wait until a Monday breeze to make a final decision.
Hannibal Lad, a recent acquisition at the Tattersalls Sale in Newmarket for Red Baron's Stable, will make his United States debut in the $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup (gr. I) on Saturday, trainer Darrell Vienna said from Santa Anita."'Hannibal the Cannibal' is going to eat them up," joked Vienna Sunday of the English-bred 6-year-old horse. "He worked an easy five-eighths this morning in 1:02. I really liked the way he went."He was a high handicap horse in Europe and should be in mid-pack in the Turf Cup," said Vienna. "He has a nice way of going, and he gets a mile and a half."The 12-furlong Hollywood Turf Cup will be run for the 22nd time. In the weight-for-age test, 4-year-olds and up will carry 126 pounds, while 3-year-olds will carry 122.In addition to English import Hannibal Lad, trainer Jonathan Sheppard will ship Augustin Stable's Rochester west. Eddie Martin Jr., who rode the 6-year-old gelding to victory in the Kentucky Cup Handicap Sept. 21, has the call. Rochester has won nine of 21 starts and earned $636,133.Other probable starters include the Jenine Sahadi-trained duo of Delta Form (Goncalino Almeida) and Williams News (Alex Solis), Sunset Handicap (gr. IIT) winner Grammarian (Jose Valdivia, Jr.), San Luis Obispo Handicap (gr. IIT) winner Nazirali (Brice Blanc) and 2001 Hollywood Derby (gr. IT) runner-up Sligo Bay (Laffit Pincay, Jr.). Williams News finished fourth in the race last year.Other possibilities include the Michael Dickinson-trained duo of Cetewayo and Bowman Mill, the Bobby Frankel-trained pair of Blue Steller and Chiselling, the Kristin Mulhall-conditioned pair of Alyzig and Night Life, Special Matter, Lasting Tribute, Motto, February Storm and Continental Red.Continental Red worked five furlongs on the turf here Sunday in 1:01.80 for trainer Ian Jory, who said his runner-up effort in the California Cup Classic Nov. 2 took a lot out of the 6-year-old gelding.