Several nominees for the $100,000 Beverly Hills Handicap worked on the Hollywood Park turf Sunday. The Grade III test for fillies and mares will be run at 1 ¼ miles on grass June 26.
Pretty Katherine, an allowance winner on the lawn here in her last start, worked six furlongs in 1:16.20 under Tyler Baze for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who also nominated Tuscan Evening.
Tuscan Evening, a 5-year-old mare who won the Grade I Gamely Stakes here in her last start, would rule as a prohibitive favorite if she started.
“We’re still on the fence with Tuscan Evening,” said Hollendorfer. “We’re also considering the Modesty Handicap at Arlington (July 17). We’re still pondering it.”
Trainer Ben Cecil, who won the 1998 Beverly Hills with Squeak, worked the trio of Restless Soul, Gripsholm Castle and Lady Francesca six furlongs.
“It could be any combination, none, one, two or all three,” said Cecil of probable starters. Victor Espinoza, who has taken a call on Restless Soul, worked the 6-year-old mare in company with Spring Style. Restless Soul was clocked in 1:14.80.
Espinoza also worked Lady Francesca in company with Gripsholm Castle, exercise rider David Meah up. Gripsholm Castle was timed in a bullet 1:13.80; Lady Francesca 1:14.20.
Trainer Paddy Gallagher listed General Consensus as probable and Princess Taylor as possible after the pair worked six furlongs each. Rafael Bejarano has the call on General Consensus, who was timed in 1:14.60. Princess Taylor worked in 1:15.40.
Cat by the Tale, winner of the San Gorgonio Handicap and third in the Gamely, worked six furlongs in 1:15.40 for trainer Neil Drysdale. Joel Rosario has the Beverly Hills call.
On Cushion Track, Leonard Powell worked Rosey de Megeve four furlongs in 47.80 and Catsalot five furlongs in 1:00.40. Powell said he would probably run one.
Princess Haya, another probable starter, will be ridden by Christian Santiago Reyes.
Bobby Brown, who once worked as a hot walker for trainer Mel Stute, switched careers to golf as a caddy and today will be carrying the bag of Dustin Johnson, who carries a three-stroke lead into the final round of the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.
Octogenarian Stute recalled that Brown worked for him briefly and didn’t show any great aptitude for the job. “I got a call from Bobby after Dustin won the PGA tour stop at Pebble Beach in February, and he earned $110,000 for being his caddy,” said Stute. “He said, ’Mel, thank God you didn’t keep me!’”
Brown, who has worked as Johnson’s caddy the last two years, was given a great deal of credit on network broadcasts for boosting Johnson’s confidence with his ability to advise him on reading the greens.
Trainer Gary Stute, Mel’s son, said both Brown and Johnson are involved in ownership of horses he trains. “I call Bobby ‘Archie’ because he looked like Archie in the comics,” said Stute. “Archie and I are partners in Jana Gail. Archie and I are also partners with Johnson and another touring pro, Pat Perez, in Bling Boy. I’m still working on the paperwork for the two golfers.”
The Stutes will be rooting for Johnson and his caddy to hold on today. “I left Archie a message that he’s three in front turning for home,” said Gary. “He said the Masters was like the Kentucky Derby, and the U.S. Open was like the Preakness. If that’s the case, maybe my dad helped him.” Mel won the 1986 Preakness with Snow Chief.
Trainer Ron Ellis, who won the Affirmed Handicap Saturday with Golden Itiz and two earlier stakes with Rail Trip, hopes for a big finish at this meet with the pair.
“Golden Itiz came back good; we’re keeping our fingers crossed for next month,” said Ellis, aiming 3-year-old Golden Itiz for the $200,000 Swaps Stakes July 17, one week after Rail Trip defends honors in the $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup.
“Rail Trip will work a half mile Monday,” said Ellis of the 5-year-old gelding who won convincingly in the Mervyn LeRoy Handicap and Californian at this meet.
Ellis seeks his first Swaps victory with Golden Itiz although owner Jay Em Ess Stable won it with Arson Squad in 2006 and jockey Tyler Baze won the race with Tres Borrachos in 2008.
Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith has taken a call on Australian import Scenic Blast in the $60,000-added Robert Kerlan Handicap next Sunday, agent Brad Pegram confirmed.
The 6-year-old gelding worked five furlongs on Cushion Track in 1:02.40 for trainer John Shirreffs for his United States debut in the Kerlan at six furlongs on turf.
Scenic Blast brings a glittering portfolio that includes 2009 Group I victories in the Lightning Stakes and Newmarket Handicap at Flemington in Australia and the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot in England under 130 pounds. He has won eight of 21 starts and earned $1,396,843.
Other probable starters include Noble Court (Joel Rosario) and Kelly Leak (Rafael Bejarano). Trainer Marty Jones said a decision on filly Unzip Me would be made after a study of the weights, which are scheduled to be released later this afternoon.
FINISH LINES— Santa Anita Derby winner Sidney’s Candy worked a bullet six furlongs in 1:11.60 under jockey Joe Talamo for the Swaps Stakes to the satisfaction of trainer John Sadler. Sadler said that he passed on the Will Rogers Stakes today with Line of David for another spot but said that in addition to Sidney’s Candy, he is also targeting the $250,000 American Oaks July 3 with Cozi Rosie, the $150,000 American Handicap July 4 with Oil Man and the $150,000 A Gleam Handicap July 17 with Alpha Kitten…Jockeys Mike Smith and David Flores will travel to Prairie Meadows Saturday to ride in the $200,000 Iowa Oaks. Smith will be aboard All Due Respect for Kathy Walsh and Flores has taken a call on Harissa for Dave Hofmans…Hollywood Park-based Kinsale King finished a strong third in the Group I Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot Saturday in his turf debut for trainer Carl O’Callaghan…Owner Bud Johnston said that Acclamation, winner of the Jim Murray and Charles Whittingham handicaps here, is under consideration for the $750,000 United Nations Handicap at Monmouth Park in New Jersey on July 3…Jockey Rafael Bejarano will turn 28 Wednesday.
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