Making his first start outside of races restricted to California-bred horses, Proud Tower was an impressive winner of the Hollywood Prevue Stakes at Hollywood Park.
Even majesty has its slapstick moments. As Kalanisi prepared to head back to the grandstand, just heartbeats after his sterling victory in the $2,271,680 Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT), the mahogany colt found himself all alone, the center of the world's attention. A shy type described by trainer Michael Stoute as "a little bit of a playboy," he took a quick glance left and spotted the six-furlong gap exit. For a transplanted European, it meant only one thing. That was the way home. A nifty side step later, jockey John Murtagh was planted on the Churchill Downs dirt, smiling up in bewilderment.
California Cup, now an annual rite of autumn on the Southern California racing calendar, paraded forth for the 11th time on Oct. 28, as a jubilant Oak Tree crowd of 24,526 came out to catch the usual plateful of bright colors, beaming faces, and big races. What they walked away with was racing history.
But a national division once boasting the potential of Royal Anthem, Dark Moondancer, Chester House, and Bienamado now finds itself pining for a star, and with no local standout or foreign phenomenon to brandish. This year's running of the Turf is totally up for grabs.
Irish-bred Sign of Hope won the Oak Tree Derby for trainer Neil Drysdale, who was at Churchill Downs preparing his Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus for a Breeders' Cup run.
Michael Cooper and Cecilia Straub-Ruben's Tiznow led from the start and held off a determined Captain Steve and possibly a ticket to the Breeders' Cup.
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