INGLEWOOD, Calif. (April 21)-Graded stakes winner Alphie’s Bet tops a field of eight in the $200,000 TVG Snow Chief Stakes, the main event on the 11th California Gold Rush program on Saturday at Hollywood Park.
Restricted to California breds, the Gold Rush features eight stakes races with purses totaling $910,000.
Trained by Alexis Barba for owners Peter O. Johnson, Sr. and breeder Teresa McWilliams, Alphie’s Bet had designs on the Kentucky Derby on May 1 at Churchill Downs, but his hopes were dashed with an off-the-board finish in the Santa Anita Derby. The son of Tribal Rule was sixth on April 3, 8 ¼ lengths behind wire-to-wire winner Sidney’s Candy.
Prior to the Derby, Alphie’s Bet had won the Sham, a Grade III, which, at 1 1/8 miles, is the same distance as the Snow Chief. A winner twice in six races, Alphie’s Bet will be ridden on Saturday by Mike Smith, who was aboard for the colt’s first two starts last fall. He will break from post 2 and carry highweight of 124 pounds. The Snow Chief is the sixth race on the card.
Drawn directly inside of Alphie’s Bet is Self Made. An Old Topper colt owned by breeder Tommy Town Thoroughbreds and trained by John Sadler, Self Made is perfect in two starts. He rallied from last to win against maidens at six furlongs on Feb. 21, then successfully stretched out to 1 1/16 miles on April 1. Rafael Bejarano, fresh off another meet title in Southern California at Santa Anita, will ride.
From the inside out, the complete field for the Snow Chief: Self Made, Bejarano, 118; Alphie’s Bet, Smith, 124; Mr Tokyo, Joe Talamo, 116; Warren’s Kong, Martin Pedroza, 116; Cahill Country, Victor Espinoza, 118; Working Capital, Joel Rosario, 116; Leaving New York, Travis Dunkelberger, 116 and Straightomidnight, Omar Berrio, 116.
Dunkelberger, who will be making his first appearance at Hollywood Park, tied the North American record for consecutive wins by a rider with nine last Nov. 15 at Charles Town.
The other races on Saturday with six digit purses are the $150,000 Melair Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles, the $150,000 B. Thoughtful for older fillies and mares at 7 ½ furlongs and the $150,000 Tiznow for older horses at 7 ½ furlongs.
La Nez, who was second behind impressive winner Tanda in the Santa Paula on March 28 at Santa Anita in her first start of 2010, has won two of five starts when facing Cal breds. Trained by Eric Kruljac for Class Racing Stable and partners, the daughter of Storm Creek scored her biggest victory in the California Cup Juvenile Fillies last Oct. 3 during the Oak Tree meet at Santa Anita.
Smith, who was aboard for the Cal Cup win, retains the mount on La Nez, who drew post 2 in the field of seven and will carry co-highweight – along with Camille C – of 120 pounds.
Tommy Town Thoroughbreds also has a strong contender in the B. Thoughtful. U R All That I Am, a 4-year-old Valid Wager filly, will be seeking her seventh win in 14 starts for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.
The winner of the Cat’s Cradle Handicap in her lone race at Hollywood Park, U R All That I Am was beaten by a head in the Irish O’Brien on turf in her most recent outing on March 20. She drew post four and will carry 120 pounds. Joel Rosario will ride.
Eight are scheduled to participate in the Tiznow, including defending champion Liberian Freighter.
Owned by Shawn Dugan, Charles Winner and the Estate of Ed Nahem and trained by Neil Drysdale, Liberian Freighter won the Tiznow by 1 ½ lengths as the 5-2 favorite in 2009.
The 5-year-old son of Bertrando is winless in three subsequent starts, most recently finishing fifth in the Crystal Water on grass on Feb. 28.
Bejarano, who has ridden Liberian Freighter to his last two wins, stays with the gelding, who will leave from the rail.
His opponents include One Track Mind, a two time winner over the Hollywood Park main track, and Earnednevergiven, who has won two in a row since returning from a layoff of nearly 15 months for trainer Mike Machowsky.
The other Gold Rush stakes are the $60,000 Alphabet Kisses for maiden fillies and mares at six furlongs, the $70,000 Grey Memo for 3-year-olds & up at seven furlongs, the $70,000 Warren’s Thoroughbreds for fillies and mares at seven furlongs and the $60,000 NTRA for maidens at 6 ½ furlongs.
First post time for the 10-race card is 1 p.m.
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