INGLEWOOD, Calif. (April 10, 2012)—Amazombie, the champion sprinter of 2011, and Willa B Awesome, the upset winner of the Grade I Santa Anita Oaks March 31, are among the 148 nominees to the 13th California Gold Rush, which will be run Saturday, April 28 at Betfair Hollywood Park.
A series of eight races restricted to horses bred or sired in California – including a pair of maiden events (the Alphabet Kisses and NTRA Stakes) with $60,000 purses – the Gold Rush highlights the opening weekend of Betfair Hollywood Park’s 50-day Spring/Summer meet.
Owned by Thomas Sanford and trainer Bill Spawr, Amazombie is one of 31 older horses nominated to the $125,000 Tiznow Stakes, which is run at 7 ½ furlongs over Cushion Track.
Amazombie, who clinched his Eclipse Award with a neck win in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint last Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs, is the defending champion in the Tiznow. If he starts and wins, he would be the first two time winner of a race named in honor of the double Breeders’ Cup Classic winner.
A 6-year-old gelded son of Northern Afleet, Amazombie earned his first win of 2012 April 7, capturing the Grade II Potrero Grande at Santa Anita, providing Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith with his 5,000th career victory.
Bred by Gregg Anderson, the bay has won 11 of 25 and banked $1,639,708. Two of Amazombie’s wins have come over Cushion Track, including his maiden score Dec. 3, 2009.
Other nominees to the Tiznow include M One Rifle, the Cushion Track record holder for five furlongs achieved in victory in the 2011 Cool Frenchy Stakes, Holladay Road, Norvsky and 2011 Harry Henson Stakes winner Ain’t No Other.
Willa B Awesome, who surprised Reneesgotzip and Eden’s Moon in the Santa Anita Oaks, is one of 15 nominees to the Melair. Scheduled for 1 1/8 miles over Cushion Track, the Melair’s purse – like that of the Snow Chief Stakes – has doubled from $150,000 in 2011 to $300,000 this year.
Trained by Walther Solis for Phil Daniels, Patsy London, John Winters and breeder Terry Lovinger, Willa B Awesome is a 3-year-old daughter of Awesome Gambler who has won four of 12 and earned $429,896. She has a win and two thirds in three starts at Betfair Hollywood Park.
The Snow Chief, which is also nine furlongs, attracted 18 nominations, including Rousing Sermon, the runner-up in the 2011 CashCall Futurity and winner of the California Cup Juvenile last fall. Others on the list include Derby Gold, an impressive winner of the Echo Eddie Stakes last month at Santa Anita and Generous winner Stoney Fleece.
The $70,000 Grey Memo Stakes, which is run at seven furlongs, had the most nominations, luring 42 while the $70,000 Warren’s Thoroughbred Stakes, which is for fillies and mares at seven furlongs, had 24 nominations.
Entries for the California Gold Rush will be taken Wednesday, April 25.
The complete list of nominations can be found here
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