INGLEWOOD, Calif. (July 11, 2013)—Dhaamer and Marketing Mix will both attempt to make some history in the $100,000 Sunset Handicap Sunday at Betfair Hollywood Park.
A Grade III at 1 ½ miles on turf, the Sunset is the fifth of 11 races on closing day of the final Spring/Summer meet. Post time is 1 p.m. Track gates will open at 9:55 a.m. for simulcasts.
Owned by Edward Brown, Jr. and Jay Manoogian and trained by Mike Mitchell, Dhaamer is the defending Sunset champion, winning by 3 ¼ lengths as the prohibitive 2-5 favorite last July 15.
If the 6-year-old gelded son of Dubai Destination is successful Sunday, he will be the first horse to win the Sunset more than once since it was switched to turf in 1967.
The only horse with multiple victories is Whodunit, who won in 1959 and 1961 when the Sunset was run at 1 5/8 miles on dirt.
Mitchell, who also won the 2004 Sunset with Star Over the Bay, could become the first trainer to go back-to-back in the race since Hall of Famer Richard Mandella won with Sandpit in 1995 and Talloires the following year.
Undefeated in three starts over the Betfair Hollywood Park grass – including a 2 ¼-length win in the Round Table Stakes May 12 – Dhaamer has won six of 17. Out of the Ahonoora mare Arjuzah, the chestnut has earned $258,682.
Owned by Glen Hill Farm and trained by Tom Proctor, Marketing Mix could become only the third female to win the Sunset, joining Typecast (1972) and Petite Ile (1990).
A Canadian-bred daughter of Medaglia d’Oro and the Kris S. mare Instant Thought, Marketing Mix defeated her own sex May 27 in the Gamely Stakes.
The thrilling head decision over Tiz Flirtatious in the initial Grade I of the Spring/Summer meet was the ninth victory in 17 starts for Marketing Mix. She’s banked $1,809,518.
Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens has the return call on Marketing Mix as he seeks his third Sunset win. His previous victories came with Grand Flotilla (1994) and Blueprint (2001).
Completing the cast are Hawk’s Eyes, Why Not Be Perfect, Extensive and Only the Gold.
Owned by breeder Coudelaria Jessica, Inc. and trained by A.C. Avila, who combined to win the 2011 Sunset with Imponente Purse, Hawk’s Eyes will make his United States debut after winning four times on turf in his native Brazil.
A 4-year-old son of Public Purse and the Crimson Tide mare Belle Fleur, Hawk’s Eyes has earned $118,048 in 10 starts. Two of his victories came in Group I races in 2012.
The Sunset will be the first start for Hawk’s Eyes since he finished fifth in a Group III March 3 at Ciudad Jardim.
Why Not Be Perfect returns to California for the first time since winning an optional claimer at 44-1 last Nov. 10 over the Betfair Hollywood Park turf. The gate-to-wire victory came less than two weeks after the son of Whywhywhy had been claimed for $40,000 by J.C. Racing Stable and trainer Jeff Metz.
Since that shocking win, the 6-year-old, who is out of the Matchlite mare Perfect Time, has earned three more victories in six starts in Arizona and Washington.
In his most recent race, Why Not Be Perfect, who is 8-for-45 with a bankroll of $263,555, was fourth in the $50,000 Budweiser Handicap June 16 at Emerald Downs.
Trained by Vladimir Cerin for owners Holly and David Wilson, Extensive has won three of 11 and earned $173,907. The 5-year-old Purge gelding out of the Theatrical mare Zambia finished fifth in an optional claimer June 22 in his last appearance. He was beaten about two lengths in the race at 1 1/16 miles on turf.
Extensive was claimed by his current connections for $80,000 Aug. 14, 2011 at Del Mar from Glen Hill Farm and Proctor. The chestnut has started only three times since the claim, including a third in the Grade II Del Mar Derby Sept. 4, 2011.
Only the Gold has yet to hit the board in five grass races. He finished last of 11 in a $36,734 allowance June 16 on the Golden Gate Fields turf.
Vann Belvoir trains the 4-year-old gelded son of Medaglia d’Oro and the Pleasant Colony mare Colonial Review for owners Rich and Vicky Dimitri.
Claimed for $12,500 March 30, Only the Gold has one win – May 23 over Cushion Track in a $16,000 restricted claimer – in three subsequent outings. He’s won two of 14 in his career and earned $45,620.
From inside out, the field for the 72nd Sunset Handicap: Dhaamer, Julien Leparoux rides, 121 pounds; Marketing Mix, Gary Stevens, 119; Only the Gold, Kayla Stra, 108; Extensive, Martin Garcia, 113; Hawk’s Eyes, Victor Espinoza, 117 and Why Not Be Perfect, Anne Sanguinetti, 115.
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