Val Royal is bidding for an Eclipse Award as champion turf horse. The 5-year-old was set to carry high weight of 124 pounds in going for his third consecutive win. In his last two starts, Val Royal won the Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile at Santa Anita and the Breeders' Cup Mile at Belmont Park on Oct. 27. Canani said Val Royal will run in a 1 1/8-mile turf stakes in Hong Kong on Dec. 16. "You don't have to run a horse to win an Eclipse," Canani said. "He did what he had to do this year. He broke the track record for the Breeders' Cup."
With rain falling at Hollywood Park Saturday and the turf course downgraded to "good," Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) winner Val Royal was a late scratch from the $500,000 Citation Handicap (gr. IIT). Val Royal was the 6-5 morning-line favorite for the 1 1/16-mile race.The soft turf was enough to deter Val Royal, along with Lord Jim, Fighting Falcon, Purely Cozzene and Takarian, leaving eight to start in the race. "The track is too deep. I can't afford to take a chance," said Julio Canani, Val Royal's trainer. "The horse is sound now, but things can happen."