Lazy Lode will seek a record third consecutive victory in the $400,000 Hollywood Turf Cup (gr. IT) Saturday. The 6-year-old, who has earned more than $1.1 million from six victories in 25 career starts, faces a tough task this year. Beset by a series of minor injuries, Lazy Lode has raced only once since winning the Turf Cup a year ago. He was fourth in a one-mile prep race Nov. 19.
Brice Blanc will ride Lazy Lode for the first time Saturday. Corey Nakatani won the Turf Cup with the Argentine-bred two years ago, and Laffit Pincay Jr. was aboard last year. Pincay will ride Single Empire, who is winless in eight races this year.
Three horses have previously won three consecutive renewals of stakes races at Hollywood Park: Native Diver, Hollywood Gold Cup (1965-67); Answer Do, Hollywood Turf Express (1990-92); and Flawlessly, the Matriarch (1991-93).
Bienamado, a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred, has four wins in 10 career starts and earnings of $481,009. As Robert Sangster sold his share of Single Empire to Gary Tanaka in mid-November, Bienamado will not run as part of the Tanaka-owned entry. Single Empire will run coupled with Vergennes.
Single Empire, a 6-year-old Irish-bred, has five wins in 22 starts and earnings of more than $1.2 million. He was third to Bienamado in the Sunset Handicap (gr. IIT) and third to Lazy Lode in last year's Turf Cup.
Vergennes, a 5-year-old gelding who won the 1998 Early Times Hollywood Derby (gr. IT), is seeking to become the first horse since Itsallgreektome in 1990 to win both the Derby and the Turf Cup. He galloped a mile Thursday, a day after having a bruised foot.
The field for the Hollywood Turf Cup will consist of:
1--Res Judicata, Alex Solis, 126
2--Binn Tin Tin, Corey Nakatani, 126
3--Lazy Lode, Brice Blanc, 126
4--Perssonet, Eddie Delahoussaye, 126
5--Bienamado, Chris McCarron, 126
6--Lord Flasheart, Victor Espinoza, 122
7--(E)Single Empire, Laffit Pincay Jr., 126
8--(E)Vergennes, Garrett Gomez, 126
9--Northern Quest, Gary Stevens, 126