INGLEWOOD, Calif. (Nov. 24, 2009) — Cowboy Cal, runner-up here last fall in the Hollywood Derby, will try to bounce back from a tenth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Mile in Friday’s $300,000 Citation Handicap at Hollywood Park.
Cowboy Cal, owned by Robert and Janice McNair, tired after vying for the lead in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. Two starts back the 4-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway scored a front-running victory in the Oak Tree Mile.
Winner of five of 12 turf starts, Cowboy Cal is the 120-pound high weight in the Grade I Citation, which will be run at 1 1/16 miles on opening day of Hollywood Park’s three-day Turf Festival. He has won seven of 18 starts overall for earnings of $1,001,810.
Cowboy Cal will be ridden by Rafael Bejarano for the first time in the field of ten older horses, which will line up as follows from the rail out: Fluke, with Joe Talamo up, carries 113 pounds; Skyrush, Martin Pedroza, 114; Proudinsky, Mike Smith, 119; Blue Chagall, Garrett Gomez, 115; Ever a Friend, Joel Rosario, 118; Cowboy Cal, Bejarano, 120; El Gato Malo, David Flores, 114; Enriched, Michael Baze, 110; Monzante, Alex Solis, 116, and Times Gone By, Alonso Quinonez, 113.
Monzante, from the Mike Mitchell stable along with Ever a Friend, will be shortening up after finishing sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at 1 ½ miles. The 5-year-old gelding had a big year on turf in 2008, finishing second here in the Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap before winning the Eddie Read Handicap at Del Mar.
Ever a Friend won an allowance race at Santa Anita on Nov. 5 following an 18-month layoff. Claimed for $62,500 in December of 2007, he won the Kilroe Mile and finished second here in the Shoemaker Mile in 2008.
German-bred Proudinsky is the richest horse in the race with a bankroll of $1,117,953. The 6-year-old won the Mervin Muniz Jr. Memorial Handicap in 2008 and 2009 at the Fair Grounds. Winner of six of 20 starts — all on turf — he will be making his first start since finishing third in the Monmouth Stakes in June.
Proudinsky and Fluke will be saddled by long-time Bobby Frankel assistant Humberto Ascanio, who officially took over the Hall of Fame trainer’s 22-horse Hollywood Park stable after his death Nov. 16.
Brazilian-bred Fluke, a 4-year-old, has finished first or second in seven of nine turf starts. He rallied to win a one-mile allowance race at Belmont Park while making his most recent start on Sept. 18.
French-bred Blue Chagall steps up to graded company in quest of his third straight victory after capturing the one-mile Lure at Santa Anita.
El Gato Malo, eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, won an allowance race at the Citation distance at Del Mar in September. HThe son of El Corredor is one-for-three on turf.
Argentine-bred Skyrush finished fourth behind Cowboy Cal in the Oak Tree Mile; Enriched shifts to turf following a second in the On Trust Handicap, and Times Gone By enters following a fourth-place finish in the nine-furlong Clement Hirsch at Santa Anita in October.
The Citation will run as the ninth of ten races on Friday’s program at Hollywood Park. First post is at 12:30 p.m.
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