Big Fields for Hollywood's Final Curtain Call
by Jack Shinar
Date Posted: 12/19/2013 7:26:35 PM
Last Updated: 5/31/2014 1:40:49 PM
Aotearoa won the 2013 Zuma Beach Stakes.
The finish line is in sight for Betfair Hollywood Park, which attracted 112 entrants for its final program Dec. 22 consisting of 11 races.
Entries were taken Dec. 19 as the curtain prepares to drop on the legendary Inglewood track after 75 years of racing. The card is headlined by the $200,000 King Glorious Stakes for 2-year-olds bred or sired in California going seven furlongs on Cushion Track. It will also include a pair of $50,000 starter allowance races, the Valley Lass, a race named for the first winner at Hollywood in 1938, and the Auld Lang Syne, which brings the Hollywood Park era to a sad close.
Part of the Golden State Series for state-breds, the King Glorious is named for the 1988 Hollywood Futurity winner. It is the 10th race with a 5:05 p.m. PST scheduled post. First post is 12:30 p.m.
Commemorative pins honoring the Sunset Handicap will also be given away, one per paid admission while supplies last. There will also be drawings for gift cards and other special prizes throughout the day.
Runner-up in the Generous Stakes (gr. IIIT) on the Hollywood Park turf Nov. 30, Aotearoa will be making his Cushion Track debut for trainer Leonard Powell, who conditions the gelded son of Good Journey for owner/breeder Paul Viskovich. The chestnut won the Zuma Beach Stakes at one mile on the Santa Anita Park turf in October before finishing seventh in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IT) Nov. 1.
Aotearoa, who will be ridden by Corey Nakatani from post 9 in the field of 11, began his career with two starts on the Polytrack at Del Mar. He broke his maiden against state-breds by nearly five lengths in his debut before running fourth in the I'm Smokin Stakes.
Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who conditioned King Glorious, began the final three days of the fall stand with a chance to set a meet record for most stakes wins. He will send out a pair, Life Is a Joy and Pray Hard.
Life Is a Joy, who drew the far outside post with Edwin Maldonado aboard for the first time, comes off a pair of fifth-place finishes in two-turn races—the Golden State Juvenile Nov. 1 at Santa Anita and the Real Quiet Stakes Nov. 23 at BHP. The son of Globalize won his first three races in Northern California, including the Charlie Palmer Futurity Oct. 5 at Fresno. The gelding was bred and is owned by Hollendorfer, his wife Janet, and George Todaro.
Tommy Town Thoroughbreds homebred Pray Hard, who drew gate 2 with Rafael Bejarano to ride, comes off a 5 1/4-length maiden win Nov. 30. The victory followed three consecutive runner-up finishes in state-bred maiden company for the Kafwain gelding.
Mass Transit defeated 11 maidens, including runner-up Pray Hard, in his Cushion Track debut Nov. 9 for trainer Peter Miller and a partnership that includes Blinkers On Racing Stable. The son of City Zip will be ridden back by Joe Talamo from post 4.
Better Bet, well beaten in the listed Real Quiet Stakes last time for trainer Mike Harrington, who also owns and bred the Southern Image colt, is back to sprinting. Better Bet won the one-mile Golden State Juvenile on the Nov. 1 Breeders' Cup card at Santa Anita and has earnings of $190,380.
Harrington will also send out Alpine Luck for owner/breeder Heinz Steinmann. The Lucky J. H. colt captured the listed Hollywood Juvenile Championship in July but has dropped four in a row since then.
California Chrome, winner of Del Mar's Graduation Stakes July 31, returns to the scene of his first victory May 17 for owner/breeders Steve Coburn and Perry Martin and trainer Art Sherman.
$200,000 King Glorious Stakes Race 10, 5:05 p.m.), 2YOs Bred or Sired in California, 7 Furlongs (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Smoove It (CA), M Gutierrez, 114, D F O'Neill
2. Pray Hard (CA), R Bejarano, 117, J Hollendorfer
3. Ghost of Harrenhal (CA), K Stra, 115, D Meredith
4. Mass Transit (CA), J Talamo, 117, P Miller
5. Alpine Luck (CA), A Delgado, 121, M Harrington
6. Tizouttasight (CA), A Bisono, 115, C Dollase
7. Convoy (CA), M Garcia, 115, G Haley
8. California Chrome (CA), V Espinoza, 119, A Sherman
9. Aotearoa (CA), C S Nakatani, 121, L Powell
10. Better Bet (CA), M A Pedroza, 121, M Harrington
11. Life Is a Joy (CA), E A Maldonado, 119, J Hollendorfer
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