As usual, Bob Baffert has his sights set on the Grade I, $750,000-guaranteed CashCall Futurity, which is expected to draw a near capacity field for its 32nd running, Saturday, Dec. 15.
The Hall of Fame trainer, who has won three of the last four Futurities, including the 2011 edition with Liaison, is expected to start four, though final plans and rider assignments for the race, which will be run at 1 1/16 miles over Cushion Track, will be cemented in the next couple of days.
The “final four” of his 26 nominations are Jill Baffert and Bode Miller’s Carving, winner of the Real Quiet Stakes Nov. 10, Westrock Stable LLC’s Den’s Legacy, who captured the Grade III Generous Stakes on turf Nov. 24, Watson, Pegram, et al’s Really Mr Greely, upset winner of the Grade III Hollywood Prevue Nov. 22, and Gary and Mary West’s Title Contender, who set the pace in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Nov. 3.
Shipping in from New York will be Black Rock Stable, LLC’s unbeaten Violence, trained by Todd Pletcher. The Medaglia d’Oro colt was a debut winner at Saratoga August 18before a dominating victory in the Grade II Nashua Stakes Nov. 4 at Aqueduct.
He’s Had Enough, beaten a head at 19-1 by Shanghai Bobby in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, has J. Paul Reddam, Doug O’Neill and Mario Gutierrez thinking about another Triple Crown run. The connections won the 2012 Kentucky Derby and Preakness with I’ll Have Another, who was retired with an injury prior to the Belmont Stakes.
Ken McPeek, who shipped Pure Fun to Betfair Hollywood Park for an emphatic victory in Saturday’s Grade I Hollywood Starlet, has two possibilities for the CashCall—Bold Challenger, an impressive maiden winner Nov. 2 at Churchill Downs and Boundless Heart, a developing son of Elusive Quality.
Other probable starters are Bluegrass Hall LLC’s Oxbow (Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas), a recent 4 ¾ length maiden winner at Churchill Downs, and Jaam Racing et al’s Little Jerry, who posted a stunning $53.80 debut victory for trainer Richard Baltas. Also expected are Awtrey, Hollendorfer, et al’s Fury Kapcori (Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer) and Myung Kwon Cho’s Dirty Swagg (Cho), the second and third place finishers, respectively, in the Real Quiet.
PURE FUN, LADY OF FIFTY, EXECUTIVEPRIVILEGE RETURN IN GOOD SHAPE
Magdelena Racing’s Pure Fun, who unleashed a devastating stretch run to win the Grade I Hollywood Starlet, ate well last night and walked Sunday morning, according to Matt Shirer, McPeek’s assistant trainer. Pure Fun is scheduled to remain at Betfair Hollywood Park for about a week and ultimately will be pointed to the Grade I Kentucky Oaks next May at Churchill Downs.
McPeak, who is vacationing in Kauai, watched the race on a mobile device application.
The disappointment in the Starlet was Executiveprivilege, who finished fourth as the 2-5 favorite. Mike Marlow, Bob Baffert’s assistant trainer, couldn’t explain the loss, but said the double Grade I winner came back “fine.”
“She looks healthy this morning, cooled out well,” said Marlow. “I don’t know. I thought she had a good trip. She just threw in a bad one.”
Marlow was enthused about the second place finish of Blonde Fog, who was making just her second start. “She ran huge,’’ he said. “I mean, she really ran well.” Plans for the pair are undetermined.
Lady of Fifty, who overcame trouble to win the Grade II, $200,000 Bayakoa Stakes-Presented by Oak Tree Racing Association – came out of the race “real well,” according to trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. “She’s great this morning,’’ he said.
MEL STUTE HOSPITALIZED AFTER FALLING AT HOME
Trainer Mel Stute, seventh on the all time list at Betfair Hollywood Park with 575 wins, was resting comfortably Sunday morning at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles after falling in his home Saturday night.
“He bumped his head pretty hard and there was a a little bleeding into the brain,” said Stute’s wife, Annabelle. “He’s coherent and talking to the doctors and nurses. So far, so good, but they’re going to do a CAT scan just to be sure.”
Stute, 85, has won three training titles at Betfair Hollywood Park. He won the Spring/Summer season in 1983 and lead the Autumn meet two years in a row (1984-1985).
BISONO THE NEW KING OF THE LONGSHOTS
If you’re in the market for longshots, you could do a lot worse than Alex Bisono.
The 28-year-old native of Hempstead, New York has won with four of his 30 mounts at the meet and each winner has paid double digits.
Bisono started strong with Arresting Officer ($20) and Omar ($29) on Nov. 16, followed the following day by Freeway Racer ($133.20). On Dec. 7, he booted home $99.60 upsetter Anythingscookin.
Through Saturday, a $10 win bet on every Bisono mount would have yielded a $1,109 profit.
CLOSING STRIDES— Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale confirmed that multiple stakes winner Bourbon Bay will start in the Grade II, $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup, to be run Saturday, Dec. 15 at 1 1-2 miles. Mike Smith will ride the 6-year-old, who was second in last year’s Turf Cup. One of Bourbon Bay’s primary foes will be the Jeremy Noseda-trained Grandeur , a fast-closing second to Unbridled Command in the Grade I Hollywood Derby Nov. 25..…In one of the closest races in many years for leading jockey, five riders are separated by only three winners. With five racing days left, Edwin Maldonado has 19 victories, followed by Martin Garcia (18), Rafael Bejarano (17), Joe Talamo (16) and Garrett Gomez (16)………Jockey Martin Pedroza and his agent, Richie Silverstein are keeping a lighthearted mood despite suffering through their worst meet in 15 years. With only one winner from 61 mounts, Pedroza remains one short of 3,500 lifetime victories. “It’s been pretty tough. I can’t even afford real candles this year for Hanukkah,” joked Silverstein. “We’re using electric candles.”……… Julien Leparoux has won with three of the four horses he’s ridden for Bob Baffert during the meet, including the Grade III Hollywood Prevue with Really Mr Greely……..Baffert unveiled another top prospect Saturday in Flashback, a 2-year-old colt by Tapit out of the Mr. Greeley mare Rhumb Line, making him a full brother to the multiple stakes winning mare Zazu. Gary and Mary West purchased the grey as a weanling for $260,000. “We’ve always been real high on him,” said Baffert. “We were hoping he’d run like that.”………Heading into the final week of racing, A Toe By Three, Flashy Delight and Bluegrass Reward are the lone two-time winners………Four contestants in the Show Me the Money contest were eliminated Saturday when Rock Off finished off the board, leaving six alive for the $2,500 winner-take-all prize.
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