Bobby Frankel has won six of the previous 14 runnings of the 1 1/2-mile Jim Murray Memorial Handicap, and Saturday he'll send out Gassan Royal for hits year's edition of the race. The son of Royal Academy will be making his stakes debut in the event.
Frankel trains Gassan Royal for Shigehiro Hatake and Semji Nishimura.
Frankel's 2003 entry, Denon, finished second to Storming Home. Frankel said Denon is nearing his return to training and he could be race ready by August.
Among the horses Gassan Royal will face is grade III winner Runaway Dancer. The 5-year-old gelding worked four furlongs in 51 1/5 seconds on the Hollywood Park turf Sunday morning in preparation for the Murray.
"It was very nice, an easy half," said Francisco Alvarado, assistant to trainer Dan Hendricks, after the drill under exercise rider Luis Ortega.
Most recently, Runaway Dancer finished third in the San Juan Capistrano Handicap (gr. IIT) marathon at Santa Anita on April 18. The roan son of Runaway Groom
has won five of 18 starts and earned $246,590.
Highweighted at 119 is Ballingarry, who finished third in the Jim Murray Memorial last year. Ballingarry won the Stars and Stripes Breeders' Cup Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT) last July at the 12-furlong distance and finished fourth in his last start, the April 3 Arcadia Handicap (gr. IIT).
The $350,000 Jim Murray Memorial Handicap is the seventh race on Hollywood Park's Saturday card. The race is 12 furlongs on the turf. The complete field is:
Horse, Jockey (Weight), Trainer
1--Continental Red, Corey Nakatani (116), Ian Jory
2--Gene de Campeao, Omar A. Berrio (111), A.C. Avila
3--Rhythm Mad, Alex Solis (116), Bruce Headley
4--Right Proof, Victor Espinoza (110), Neil Drysdale
5--Gassan Royal, Javier Santiago (113), Bobby Frankel
6--Ballingarry, Mike Smith (119), Laura de Seroux
7--Runaway Dancer, Jose Valdivia Jr. (115), Dan Hendricks