A random sampling of trainers based at Hollywood Park Wednesday favored I Want Revenge in the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby Saturday, although CashCall Futurity winner Pioneerof the Nile and Papa Clem also received support in a 20-horse line-up with potent California connections.
Jesse Mendoza — “I’ve got to go for (trainer Jeff) Mullins’s horse (I Want Revenge). He was so impressive in his last race, getting left at the gate and overcoming trouble to win.”
Paul Aguirre — “There are so many X-factors, but I like Pioneerof the Nile. Any time a horse can change his style as often as he has and still win, he has to be an outstanding horse.”
John Sadler — “Emotionally, I’m rooting for Papa Clem. It’s bigger than (trainer) Gary Stute. It’s Clement Hirsch (the late icon after whom the horse was named by his son and owner, Bo), Warren Stute, Mel Stute and California racing. I think all the California horses — Papa Clem, Pioneerof the Nile, Chocolate Candy and Mr. Hot Stuff — will run well. It’s a strong group. Chocolate Candy, owned by Jenny Craig: what a story that would make.”
Mark Glatt — “You’ve got to like Mullins’s horse (I Want Revenge).”
Barry Abrams — “Dunkirk. He’s a fresh, up-and-coming horse, and has got the right style for this race.”
Steve Knapp — “I like Baffert’s horse (Pioneerof the Nile). He’s done nothing wrong, and Baffert has won the race three times before.”
Mike Harrington — “I Want Revenge.”
Julio Canani — “It’s going to be a longshot. Bet the field.”
David Hofmans — “I Want Revenge.”
Eric Guillot — “Baffert’s horse is a proven commodity, but I’d like to see Mullins’s horse win.”
The Kentucky Derby will be simulcast here Saturday. First post for the Hollywood Park card will be 11 a.m.
MULLINS TO ENTER PAIR IN SENORITA
Trainer Jeff Mullins, who won the Senorita Stakes last year with Sweeter Still, plans to enter a pair — Candilejas and Empressive Lady — in the $100,000, Grade III test for 3-year-old fillies at one mile on the Hollywood Park turf Sunday.
Martin Garcia has taken a call on Candilejas while Michael Baze will ride Empressive Lady.
The two fillies have similar records. Candilejas, a daughter of Candy Ride owned by Robert and Lawana Low, has won two of eight starts and earned $84,160. Empressive Lady, a daughter of Empire Maker owned by Michael House, has won two of seven starts and earned $68,000.
Both fillies will make their turf debuts in quest of their first stakes victories.
Expected to join the pair in the Senorita lineup are Acting Lady (Victor Espinoza), Burg Berg (Tyler Baze), Century Park (Joel Rosario), Lexlenos (Alex Solis), Mrs Kipling (David Flores) and Pasar Silbano (Mike Smith).
Sweeter Still won the race last year by a nose over Magical Fantasy in a battle of European imports. Magical Fantasy is trained by Paddy Gallagher, who will unveil another European import in Irish-bred Lexlenos.
NAKATANI TAKES WILSHIRE CALL
The Kentucky Derby’s loss was the Wilshire Handicap’s gain Saturday in jockey Corey Nakatani. The 37-year-old rider was initially named to ride Square Eddie at Churchill Downs before the colt was withdrawn Tuesday because of a shin injury.
That enabled Nakatani to remain in California and accept the call on Gorgeous Goose Saturday in the $100,000 Wilshire Handicap, a Grade III test for fillies and mares at one mile on grass.
Gorgeous Goose, a 4-year-old daughter of Mongoose, worked a sharp five furlongs on turf here Sunday for trainer Mike Puype. Nakatani won the 1996 Wilshire on Pharma.
HYPERBARIC, GET FUNKY WORK FOR SHOEMAKER
Hyperbaric, third-place finisher in the Shoemaker Mile last year, and Get Funky, runner-up in the 2007 race, each worked on Cushion Track here Wednesday for the $250,000 turf race, the first Grade I of the meet, on May 25.
Citation Handicap winner Hyperbaric, a 6-year-old gelding trained by three-time Shoemaker winner Julio Canani, worked four furlongs in :48.80 seconds. Get Funky, a 5-year-old conditioned by John Sadler, was clocked in :59.80 for five panels.
FINISH LINES — Hollywood Park will offer its only Friday matinee of the meet this week with a 1 p.m. post. The $500,000 Kentucky Oaks and the 2009 debut of unbeaten female champion Zenyatta in the Louisville Breeders’ Cup Stakes will be simulcast here that day. Other Friday cards for the remainder of the meet will be run under the lights with a 7:05 p.m. first post. Zenyatta was shipped to Churchill Downs Monday after a five-furlong breeze here Sunday. Later in the day, jockey Mike Smith, trainer John Shirreffs and owners Jerry and Ann Moss — Zenyatta’s connections — teamed to win the $100,000 Inglewood Handicap with Madeo and an allowance race with the improving Aitcho…Trainer Paul Aguirre is regaining his strength in the barn after undergoing an appendectomy earlier this month.
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