Competitive Field Of Nine Set For $350,000 American Oaks; Bob Baffert Sends Out Two In Search Of A Gleam Repeat

Racing News
Posted 07.11.12 at 2:16

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (July 11, 2012)—My Gi Gi, Lady of Shamrock and Stormy Lucy, the 1-2-3 finishers in the Grade II Honeymoon Handicap June 9, will square off again in the Grade I, $350,000 American Oaks – Presented by American Airlines – Saturday at Betfair Hollywood Park.

The 11th renewal of the 1 ¼ mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies is one of four stakes to be offered on the next-to-last day of the Spring/Summer meet.

Besides the American Oaks, the 10-race card includes the $200,000 A Gleam Handicap – a Grade II for fillies and mares at seven furlongs over Cushion Track – and a pair of six furlong events for 2-year-olds – the Grade III, $150,000 Hollywood Juvenile Championship and the $150,000 Landaluce, which is restricted to fillies. The Juvenile is the second race, the Landaluce goes as the fourth, the American Oaks the eighth and the A Gleam the ninth.

The 58th A Gleam is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In’’ race. The Breeders’ Cup nominated winner will receive an automatic berth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint Nov. 2 at Santa Anita. Additionally, all entry fees will be waived and the winning owner will receive a $10,000 travel allowance.

Track gates at Betfair Hollywood Park will open at 9:55 a.m. Saturday for simulcasts. Post time is 1 p.m. There is also a rolling bag giveaway – one per paid admission while supplies last.

Owned by a partnership and trained by Peter Eurton, My Gi Gi got the better of favored Lady of Shamrock by a nose in the Honeymoon. The win was the first in a graded stakes for the E Dubai filly out of the Sadler’s Wells mare Relish the Thought.

Purchased privately by her current connections prior to a nose loss to Bobina in the Grade III Senorita Stakes May 5, My Gi Gi has two wins in seven starts and earnings of $157,540.

Trained by John Sadler for Hronis Racing LLC, Lady of Shamrock had a two race win streak snapped last month. A winner of three turf stakes during Santa Anita’s Winter/Spring season, the daughter of Scat Daddy and the Blushing John mare Blushing Issue has won four of eight and banked $255,400.

Before losing by a half-length in the Honeymoon, Stormy Lucy had won three in a row at Golden Gate Fields for owner Frank Gaunt and trainer Frank Lucarelli.

The Stormy Atlantic filly out of the Dixieland Band mare Here Comes Lucinda, who broke her maiden against $30,000 maidens over Cushion Track last Dec. 11, has won four of nine and earned $109,045.

The Oaks cast also includes the second and fourth place finishers in the Grade III Regret June 16 at Churchill Downs.

If Colonial Flag or Left a Message are successful Saturday, they wouldn’t be the first filly to win the Oaks after making their previous start in Kentucky. Pure Clan shipped here for the late Bob Holthus and prevailed in 2008. The daughter of Pure Prize was the first horse Holthus – 74 at the time – had ever raced in California.

Owned by Glen Skara Stable, William S. Farish and ENL Stables LLC, Colonial Flag is conditioned by Michael Matz, best known for training 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro and Union Rags, who won the Belmont Stakes June 9 before being sidelined with a season-ending injury.

Defeated by one length by Centre Court in her graded debut in the Regret, Colonial Flag has won two of four and banked $98,075. The daughter of Pleasant Tap and the Smart Strike mare Silk n’Sapphire has won two of four.

Left a Message has two wins in four races and earnings of $68,788. The Mr. Greeley filly out of the Deputy Minister mare Chief Secretary is owned by Glen Hill Farm and trained by Tom Proctor.

Like 2003 winner Dimitrova, Miss Cato and Nyarra will start in the Oaks after making their most recent start in Europe.

Trained by Rae Guest for Three Chimneys Racing LLC, Miss Cato has won four of seven. The English bred, who has not been worse than third and earned $25,447, is a daughter of Notnowcato and the Desert King mare Regal Fairy.

Owned by Prince A.A. Faisal and trained by Mick Channon, Nayarra has one win 13 starts and a bankroll of $222,548. She was last seen trailing in the Group I Epsom Oaks June 1 in England.

Beaten a nose by Better Lucky in the Grade II Sands Point May 28 at Belmont Park, Regalo Mia will be competing at her sixth different track – in what will only be her seventh lifetime start – Saturday.

Trained by Michelle Nihei for owner Steven Ciccarone, the Sligo Bay filly out of the Red Bullet mare has won once and earned $137,200. Never worse than third, Regalo Mia raced at Saratoga, Gulfstream Park, Tampa Bay Downs and Keeneland prior to her narrow defeat at Belmont.

There have been two American Oaks winners – Wait a While (2006) and Gozzip Girl (2009) – who scored after making their previous start at Belmont Park.

The hottest member of the Oaks field is Best Present Ever. A California bred filly by Unusual Heat out of the Beau Genius mare Centerofattention, she has won three in a row on turf for owner-breeders Dennis and Norine Grenier and trainer Eric Kruljac. This will be the first appearance in a graded race for Best Present Ever, who won the restricted Campanile June 2 at Golden Gate.

From inside out, the field for the 11th American Oaks: Stormy Lucy, Eswan Flores rides, 121 pounds; Lady of Shamrock, Mike Smith, 121; Best Present Ever, Victor Espinoza, 121; My Gi Gi, Joe Talamo, 121; Regalo Mia, Rafael Bejarano, 121; Left a Message, Yuichi Fukunaga, 121; Miss Cato, Garrett Gomez, 121; Nayarra, Corey Nakatani, 121 and Colonial Flag, Rajiv Maragh, 121.

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who won the A Gleam for the first time a year ago when Irish Gypsy edged Ultra Blend, will send out a pair – American Lady and Glamorista – in search of a repeat.

Owned by Kaleem Shah, American Lady, a 4-year-old gray daughter of Stormy Atlantic and the Rubiano mare Comfort Zone, comes off a win as the 9-10 favorite in the restricted Reminiscing Stakes June 1.

The win was the second in three races over Cushion Track – she was second in her loss – for American Lady. She’s 3-for-6 overall with earnings of $133,866.

Glamorista has the same record at Betfair Hollywood Park while winning three of five lifetime. The 5-year-old daughter of Unbridled’s Song and the Dr. Blum mare Critical Crew has banked $113,500 for Thoroughbred Legends Racing Stable.

Grade I winners Switch and Teddy’s Promise will try to rebound after subpar performances in the Desert Stormer Handicap June 17.

Trained by John Sadler for Lee and Susan Searing’s C R K Stable, Switch was fourth in the Desert Stormer, extending her losing streak to eight.

Winner of the 2010 La Brea and 2011 Santa Monica in succession, the 5-year-old daughter of Quiet American and the Nicholas mare Antoniette hasn’t won since taking the Santa Monica by 3 ½ lengths well over 16 months ago.

Part of the exacta in five of six races over Cushion Track, Switch has won five of 20 lifetime and earned $1,242,562. Sadler is seeking his third A Gleam victory in five years. The trainer won back-to-back with Dearest Trickski (2008) and Evita Argentina (2009).

Teddy’s Promise, who won the 2011 La Brea at 16-1, was fifth in the Desert Stormer, six weeks after a last-to-first victory in the Time To Leave Stakes.

Trained by Ron Ellis for owner-breeders Ted and Judy Nichols, the 4-year-old California bred daughter of Salt Lake and the Capote mare Braids and Beads has won six of 16 and banked $414,681. Four of her wins have come in seven starts over Cushion Track.

Second behind Turbulent Descent in the Desert Stormer, Izzy Rules will be aiming for the most significant win of her career. Trained by Jeff Bonde for owners George and Mary Clare Schmitt, the daughter of Peace Rules and the Dayjur mare Da Dance has won seven of 20 and earned $257,683.

The only graded win for the Florida bred came earlier this year when she dominated five opponents as the 13-10 favorite in the Grade III Las Flores March 11 at Santa Anita.

Winless in three synthetic efforts, Mildly Offensive also exits the Desert Stormer. The Sharp Humor filly out of the Personal Flag mare It’s Personal finished third for owner Warren B. Williamson and trainer Carla Gaines. The 4-year-old has won three of nine and has a bankroll of $191,826.

Sugarinthemorning cuts back and changes surfaces after finishing second as the 7-10 favorite in the grassy Fran’s Valentine Stakes May 20.

Trained by Hall of Famer Ron McAnally for owner-breeder Stephen B. Weissmann, Sugarinthemorning is a California bred daughter of Candy Ride and the In Excess mare Social Belle. She’s earned $386,684 while winning five of 15.

Moonstruck Maya will be making her first appearance in a graded race after winning her last two starts by a combined 12 ¾ lengths.

The most recent victory for the 4-year-old Malibu Moon filly came in an optional claimer June 24 in her first race for trainer Peter Miller and owners Kirk and Judy Robison. Those connections had claimed the Kentucky bred, who is out of the Crafty Prospector mare Astickypropostion, for $40,000 out of an eight length win May 31. Moonstruck Maya is 3-for-12 lifetime with earnings of $106,352.

From inside out, the field for the 58th A Gleam Handicap: Mildly Offensive, Joe Talamo rides, 115 pounds; Moonstruck Maya, Juan Hernandez, 111; Glamorista, Chantal Sutherland, 115; Switch, Garrett Gomez, 122; Teddy’s Promise, Victor Espinoza, 120; American Lady, Rafael Bejarano, 116; Izzy Rules, Edwin Maldonado, 117 and Sugarinthemorning, Martin Garcia, 116.

Undefeated in two starts, Amarish will try to become the third consecutive 2-year-old – joining J P’s Gusto in 2010 and Majestic City last year – to win both the Willard L. Proctor Memorial and Hollywood Juvenile Championship.

Trained by Jeff Bonde for owner Jerry Durant, Amarish, a Scat Daddy gelding out of the Awesome Again mare Issues, defeated maidens by 7 ¾ lengths in his debut May 26 before winning the Proctor by 4 ½ lengths June 16. He’s earned $91,200.

Sadler will saddle a pair – Carson’s Crown and Scherer Magic.

The former, a Harlan’s Holiday colt out of the Dare and Go mare Delicatessa, won by three-quarters of a length at first asking June 14. Carson’s Crown’s win was worth $30,000 to owners Ike and Dawn Thrash.

An Iowa bred, Scherer Magic will be making his first start for Sadler and owner Gary Barber after being claimed for $50,000 out of a 7 ¼ length debut victory June 14. The Doneraile Court gelding out of the Touch Gold mare She’s a Nasty One earned $17,400 for the win.

Winner of the 1996 Juvenile with Swiss Yodeler, Mike Harrington will be represented by Just Call Me Al, a horse he owns and bred with wife Patricia. A son of Redattore and the Allen’s Prospect mare Alacrity, Just Call Me Al was fifth in the Proctor after a debut win May 6. He’s earned $42,560.

Strong Wind has one win in three attempts for a partnership that includes the Roncelli Family Trust and Bill Tomasic and trainer Steve Knapp. The son of Tribal Rule and the Memo mare Chalk Face won by 6 ¼ lengths June 30. He has banked $39,360.

Confederate Recon is winless in three outings for GEM Racing Stable and trainer Eric Guillot. The son of 2007 Juvenile Championship winner Salute the Sarge – also trained by Guillot – and the Indian Charlie mare Building Bridges has earned $18,400. He was fifth behind Carson’s Crown in his last appearance.

Completing the cast is Dirty Swagg, a half-brother to Vanity Handicap winner and Hollywood Gold Cup also-ran Love Theway Youare. The son of Street Hero and the Tabasco Cat mare Diversa earned $1,000 for owner, breeder and trainer Myung Kwon Cho when finishing fifth in his debut versus maidens July 1.

From inside out, the field for the 73rd Hollywood Juvenile Championship: Dirty Swagg, Garrett Gomez rides, 115 pounds; Confederate Recon, Agapito Delgadillo, 115; Carson’s Crown, Martin Pedroza, 119; Just Call Me Al, Martin Garcia, 119; Scherer Magic, Joe Talamo, 117; Amarish, Edwin Maldonado, 121 and Strong Wind, Kevin Krigger, 119.

Baffert, whose last victory in the Landaluce came with Notable Career in 2000, will be represented Saturday by Executiveprivilege.

Purchased for $650,000 earlier this year at a Florida sale by owners Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman, Executiveprivilege overcame a terrible start to win her debut by 4 ½ lengths June 28.

A daughter of First Samurai and the Unaccounted For mare Refugee, Executiveprivilege earned $30,000. A win would be the third for Baffert in the race. His other winner was Hookedonthefeelin – who was owned by Pegram – in 1998.

Cinderella Stakes upsetter Miss Empire will try for her second win in three starts for Barber, his brother Cecil and Kevin Tsujihara and Miller.

A troubled fourth in her initiation May 5, the Empire Maker filly out of the Rajab mare Miss Excitement – the same mare that produced multiple stakes winning sprinter Bordonaro – Miss Empire dominated her eight opponents in the Cinderella, winning by 4 ¾ lengths at nearly 9-1. She has banked $63,120.

The same partnership and Miller – who won the 2006 Landaluce with Pinata – will also send out Speedinthruthecity, a first out turf winner June 21. The victory was worth $30,000 for the daughter of City Zip and the Thunder Gulch mare License to Speed.

Owned by breeder John Liviakis and trained by Melody Conlon, Renee’s Queen, an After Market filly out of the Maria’s Mon mare Mighty Renee, was second to Executiveprivilege after setting the pace. The runner-up performance in her debut was worth $10,000.

Dispatched at 4-5 May 17 at Pimlico, Ten Plush won by three-quarters of a length for the I’ll Have Another connections – jockey Mario Gutierrez, owner J. Paul Reddam and trainer Doug O’Neill.

A daughter of Rock Hard Ten out of the Red Bullet mare Mystery Bullet, Ten Plush banked $18,810. Martin Garcia has the mount Saturday.

O Happy Gray knocked off maidens in open company after finishing second against California breds in her debut for owner-breeders Heinz and Michelle Steinmann and trainer Mike Harrington.

The gray daughter of Cee’s Tizzy and the Swiss Yodeler mare I Can Yodele has earned $50,960.

Represented by the likely favorite in the Juvenile Championship, Bonde will send out beaten Cinderella choice Unusual Way in the Landaluce.

A daughter of Unusual Heat and the Great Above mare Way Up, Unusual Way finished seventh of nine at 9-5 last month after a 2 ¼ length maiden score in her May 5 debut. An earner of $40,560, Unusual Way is owned by Edward J. Brown, Jr. and Philip Lebherz.

Wildcat Angie will debut for Jerry Hollendorfer after being purchased privately by a partnership that includes the Hall of Fame trainer.

The Wildcat Heir filly out of the End Sweep mare Sweeping Showers began her career with a win in two starts at Churchill Downs while in the barn of John Hancock. She was nearly 15-1 when she defeated maidens by 2 ¼ lengths June 8. The Florida bred’s bankroll is $29,925.

Hollendorfer, who won the 2011 Landaluce with Killer Graces, is trying to become the first trainer to repeat in the race since the late Brian Mayberry won four times in a row (1990-93).

From inside out, the field for the 68th Landaluce: Unusual Way, Garrett Gomez rides, 119 pounds; Ten Plush, Martin Garcia, 119; Miss Empire, Kevin Krigger, 121; Renee’s Queen, David Flores, 115; O Happy Gray, Victor Espinoza, 119; Executiveprivilege, Rafael Bejarano, 119; Speedinthruthecity, Joe Talamo, 119 and Wildcat Angie, Corey Nakatani, 119.

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