John Sadler has won titles before, but the mantle of leading trainer at this Spring/Summer Betfair Hollywood Park meeting is special.
“We’ve raced here more than 25 years,” said Sadler, who turns 57 July 30. “This is the last Summer here and it’s great to be part of history. “It’s fun to go out on top.”
Sadler clinched the title July 12. Entering Sunday’s closing day card, he has 27 victories, six more than Mike Puype and seven more than Hall of Famer Bob Baffert. His runners have finished in the top three in 81 of 144 races (56 per cent).
Handicappers trying to decipher Emollient’s form in Saturday’s Grade I, $350,000 American Oaks can take comfort in knowing they’re in the same boat as Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.
Owned by breeder Juddmonte Farms, Emollient will be making her grass debut in the event at 1 ¼ miles following a roller coaster form pattern this year.
The daughter of Empire Maker started 2013 well enough with an allowance victory on a sloppy track at Gulfstream Park Feb. 16. She was sent off at 5-2 six weeks later in the Grade II Gulfstream Park Oaks but finished fifth, 30 lengths behind runaway winner Dreaming of Julia.
Juddmonte Farms’ Emollient, winner of the Grade I Ashland April 6 at Keeneland, heads an expected field of seven for Saturday’s 12th running of the American Oaks.
A Grade I at 1 ¼ miles on turf, the $350,000 Oaks is restricted to 3-year-old fillies.
Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, Emollient has earned $446,000. The daughter of Empire Maker has earned $446,900 while winning three of seven. She was second in the Grade II Demoiselle Stakes last Nov. 24 at Aqueduct. Most recently, she finished a troubled sixth as the 4-5 favorite in the Grade II Black Eyed Susan at Pimlico.
Baseball paragon Joe Torre, co-owner of multi-millionaire Game On Dude, will be at Betfair Hollywood Park Saturday to watch his 6-year-old gelding compete in the Grade I, $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup.
Torre, who races as Diamond Pride LLC, owns Game On Dude in partnership with Bernie Schiappa, Lanni Family Trust and Ernie Moody’s Mercedes Stable, LLC.
As Major League Executive Vice President for Baseball Operations, Torre’s schedule has limited him to seeing just a handful of Game On Dude’s races live. The last time Torre was at Betfair Hollywood Park was for Game On Dude’s victory in the 2012 Californian.
The Grade I $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup, which will be run for the 74th time Saturday at Betfair Hollywood Park, is shaping up as a showcase for Horse of the Year candidate Game On Dude.
The defending champion, who is trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, is likely to have only four rivals in the 1 ¼ mile race over Cushion Track. The probable opponents: Clubhouse Ride (trainer Craig Lewis, jockey Joe Talamo), Liaison (Baffert, Martin Garcia), Oilisblackgold (Craig Dollase, Edwin Maldonado) and Kettle Corn (John Sadler, Rafael Bejarano). Entries for the Gold Cup will be taken Wednesday.
Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith has the call again on Game On Dude. Smith is 4-for-4 since teaming with the 6-year-old gelded son of Awesome Again. Game On Dude has won 13 of 25 and earned $4,702,158. Three of his wins have come in four starts at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Charles Fipke’s Java’s War, winner of the Grade I Blue Grass Stakes April 13 and a troubled 13th in the Kentucky Derby, heads a field of five or six likely starters in the Grade II, $150,000 Swaps Stakes.
The Swaps, for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on Cushion Track, will be run Thursday, July 4, kicking off a loaded Fourth of July weekend at the Inglewood track. In honor of Independence Day, veterans and active duty personnel – with proper military identification – will receive free grandstand admission.
The Friday, July 5 program will mark the final night racing card at Betfair Hollywood Park. Post time is 7:05. A concert featuring 80z All Stars after the races are concluded and beer will be offered for $1 from 7-9 p.m.
Mike Mitchell was elated with workouts by stable stars Obviously and Camp Victory June 22 and stamped them ready for their respective starts in Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 Shoemaker Mile and Grade I, $250,000 Triple Bend Handicap.
The Shoemaker, which is on turf, and the Triple Bend – at seven furlongs over Cushion Track – are Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” races.
The winner of the Shoemaker Mile receives fees-paid entry into the Breeders’ Cup Turf Mile while the Triple Bend winner gets the same reward for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
Irving Orozco’s career almost ended before it really started.
The 19-year-old apprentice was tied for third in the Golden Gate Fields rider standings with 37 victories last year when disaster nearly struck.
Last Sept. 15, Orozco was riding Mettler Station, who was racing just behind Diamond Geezah and Bye Bye See Ya. Diamond Geezah drifted into the path of Bye Bye See Ya at the sixteenth pole, causing the latter to clip heels and fall.
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