Whatsthescript, defeated handily by the spectacular filly Goldikova in spite of his big closing effort in the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT), heads a field of 10 in the $400,000 Citation Handicap (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park Nov. 28.
An extremely tough line-up is set to face the John Sadler-trained 4-year-old Whatsthescript, a dual grade II winner this year. The 1 1/16-mile Citation, which headlines the opening program of the Inglewood track's Fall Turf Festival, includes the graded winners Proudinsky, Rebellion, Medici Code, Lord Admiral, Hyperbaric, Formal Decree, Ferneley, and 2006 Canadian grade I winner Becrux, who was supplemented to the race for $8,000.
Whatsthescript and Hyperbaric are co-highweights at 120 pounds.
Owned by Tommy Town Thoroughbreds, the Irish-bred Whatsthescript owns a pair of graded wins over the Hollywood grass course, most recently taking the American Handicap (gr. IIT) at odds of 29-1 June 28. The Royal Applause colt returned to run second in the Eddie Read Handicap (gr. IT) at Del Mar three weeks later before landing the Del Mar Mile (gr. IIT) as the favorite Aug. 24.
In the BC Mile, Whatsthescript trailed the field before launching a three-wide bid through the stretch, only to be left behind in the final furlong by Goldikova. Whatsthescript wound up third, two lengths behind the runner-up, 2007 champion miler Kip Deville, and was beaten 3 3/4 lengths for it all.
Whatsthescript has done little wrong in his 13-race career, posting a 6-2-3 record with earnings of $810,734. The bay will be ridden by Garrett Gomez, who has been aboard for the last two efforts, and will break from post 9.
Trainer H. Graham Motion has entered a pair in the Citation in Galantas and Rebellion.
The versatile Rebellion, an English-bred owned by Hickory Tree Stable, turned in a strong second to Albertus Maximus in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile in spite of a poor break. The 5-year-old son of Mozart won Hollywood's Ack Ack Handicap (gr. III) on Cushion Track in June and has seven in-the-money finishes in 10 turf starts, including three wins.
"I always thought he was a better horse on grass," said Motion recently.
Earle Mack's 5-year-old Galantas ran third in the 2007 Woodbine Mile (Can-I) and returned a year later to finish second (disqualified to third for interference) as the choice in Hawthorne's Robert F. Carey Memorial Handicap (gr. III) Sept. 27, his only start this year. Galantas, a 5-year-old son of Tale of the Cat , was out because of an injured ankle.
"Galantas is a talented but fragile horse and we try to place him judiciously," the trainer said.
Prestonwood Racing's Hyperbaric ran third to Whatsthescript in the American. But he has reeled off three victories in a row since then for trainer Julio Canani, including a neck triumph in the Oak Tree Mile (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita Sept. 28, his last start. The 5-year-old Sky Classic gelding earned a spot in the Breeders' Cup Mile with that win, but his connections passed.
The German-bred Formal Decree, owned by Godolphin Racing, comes into the Citation off back-to-back turf wins at Belmont Park, mot recently taking the Knickerbocker Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the inner course by three lengths Oct. 25.
"He's lightly raced and is coming good now," said Henry Spiller, a 23-year-old native of Ireland who has been an assistant to Saeed bin Suroor for five years. "He went to Dubai two winters ago and won three in a row at the carnival. The following summer (2007), he fell in a race in France, and it may have affected his confidence. He came to the U.S. last fall, got a break, and we picked him up this spring."
Among those he beat in the Knickerbocker was the favored Proudinsky, who won the Mervin Munoz Handicap (gr. IIT) at Fair Grounds in March, but has managed just one in-the-money performance in five starts since for trainer Bobby Frankel. Owned by Gary Tanaka, the German-bred 5-year-old finished fourth in the Knickerbocker, four lengths behind Formal Decree.
Lord Admiral, a 7-year-old veteran with experience in Europe, Dubai, and the U.S., gets back on the turf after an eighth-place finish over Santa Anita's Pro-Ride main track in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile. Trained by Charles O'Brien, Lord Admiral has group wins in Dubai and Ireland.
Medici Code tries to find the form that saw him capture last year's Del Mar Derby (gr. IIT) for trainer Darrell Vienna. Second in last year's Hollywood Derby (gr. IT) as well, the Great Britain-bred gelding was off for eight months following a 13th-place finish in the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I). He returned Nov. 1 to run third in an allowance race at Hollywood.
The Irish-bred Ferneley, a group III winner in his native land, was undistinguished in his first two American starts for trainer Ben Cecil. He woke up last time out with a 1 3/4-length allowance win over the Hollywood lawn Oct. 29.
Becrux, a 6-year-old Italian-bred, won an allowance race at seven furlongs on the main track at Santa Anita in his last start — his first for trainer Sadler. A winner of more than $1 million, he was previously trained by Neil Drysdale, who saddled him to win the Woodbine Mile in 2006.
$400,000 Citation Handicap (gr. I, Race 8, 4:05 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/16 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Hyperbaric (KY), 120, Tyler Baze
2. Galantas (KY), 116, Jeremy Rose
3. Ferneley (IRE), 114, Victor Espinoza
4. Lord Admiral (PA), 118, Alex O. Solis
5. Becrux (ITY), 117, Mike E. Smith
6. Rebellion (GB), 118, Rafael Bejarano
7. Medici Code (GB), 113, Martin A. Pedroza
8. Proudinsky (GER), 116, Jose Valdivia, Jr.
9. Whatsthescript (IRE), 120, Garrett K. Gomez
10. Formal Decree (GER), 117, Jean-Luc Samyn