Crimson China, a recent acquisition by Team Valor International, will be flown to California from England to run in the $750,000 CashCall Futurity for 2-year-olds December 18.
“He will be coming on the 16th,” Team Valor president Barry Irwin confirmed Sunday from Lexington, Ky. “We just bought him last weekend.
“He has run two times, both on all-weather tracks in England,” said Irwin of the colt trained by Brian Meehan. “He came flying in his first race at one mile at Kempton and got beat a nose by a horse that came back to win a Group III. Then he won easily in his second start at a mile and a sixteenth at Wolverhampton.
“He’s well-bred, by Giant’s Causeway out of a stakes-winning Mr. Greeley mare, Parisian Affair,” continued Irwin. “We’re hoping he’s a Kentucky Derby-type of horse, and if he could finish first or second in this race, that would give him a lot of earnings for the Derby and take some of the stress off needing more earnings next spring.
“It looks like there is a lot of speed in the race,” said Irwin, indicating that would be to the benefit of the closer. Crimson China will be ridden by Garrett Gomez, who has won the last two runnings aboard Pioneerof the Nile and Lookin at Lucky.
“Crimson China will go to Graham Motion at Palm Meadows in Florida after the race,” said Irwin, hoping that Team Valor will continue its recent hot streak. “We won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf with Pluck, then the Matriarch with Gypsy’s Warning and Saturday the top 3-year-old filly race in South Africa with Ebony Flyer.”
Two other invaders, both from Florida, are also expected for the Futurity, a Grade I test at 1 1/16 miles on Cushion Track. Calder-based trainer Steve Standridge is considering Gourmet Dinner, who scored his fourth victory in five starts in the rich Delta Jackpot Stakes in Louisiana, with Sebastian Madrid. Trainer Rick Dutrow, based at Gulfstream Park, is considering Rustler Hustler, winner of stakes in his last two starts at Monmouth and Belmont parks, with Ramon Dominguez.
The trio will be joined by locally-based Comma to the Top, winner of the Real Quiet and Generous stakes with Corey Nakatani; J P’s Gusto, winner of the Hollywood Juvenile Championship and Del Mar Futurity, with Joe Talamo; the Bob Baffert-trained duo of Awesome Patriot (Victor Espinoza) and Prayer for Relief (Alonso Quinonez), the Doug O’Neill-conditioned pair of Boxeur des Rues and High Level Jeff, Industry Leader (Rafael Bejarano), Clubhouse Ride (Patrick Valenzuela) and Riveting Reason.
California Cup Juvenile winner Slammer Time heads a list of possibles after a seven-furlong work in 1:27 Saturday.
TRIO WORKS FOR STARLET; LUNA GRANDE JOINS LINEUP
Turbulent Descent, probable favorite for the $250,000 Hollywood Starlet for 2-year-old fillies Saturday, worked five furlongs in 1:00.80 Sunday under jockey David Flores to the satisfaction of trainer Mike Puype.
“Perfect; she’s ready to go,” said Puype of the unbeaten filly, who scored her second effortless win in the seven-furlong Moccasin Stakes November 21.
“I’m not even worried about two turns, not with her,” said Puype of the Grade I Starlet at 1 1/16 miles on Cushion Track for the Florida-bred daughter of Congrats. “She’s so relaxed and tactical, she does everything like a distance horse. And she likes to win.”
Two other Starlet candidates also worked. May Day Rose, winner of the Sharp Cat Stakes, worked six furlongs in a bullet 1:11.80 under Rafael Bejarano for trainer Bob Baffert. Big Tiz, third-place finisher in the Sharp Cat for trainer Mark Glatt, drilled five furlongs in 1:01.80 under Alonso Quinonez.
Other probable starters include Darley Debutante winner Tell a Kelly (Joel Rosario), Sharp Cat runner-up True Way Grace and newcomers Nina Fever (Garrett Gomez) and Luna Grande (Victor Espinoza).
Luna Grande was scheduled to arrive here later Sunday in the Kristin Mulhall barn from Calder after being purchased privately for owner Jim Hess of Chester Springs, Pa.
“We finished the deal Friday,” said Mulhall of the Florida-bred filly, who comes off a come-from-behind 5 ¾-length victory in a 5 ½-furlong allowance race on November 20. The daughter of Mass Media has recorded two firsts and three seconds in eight starts.
Nina Fever has worked three times here for trainer Wesley Ward since joining the Blake Heap stable from Kentucky. The front-running Kentucky-bred daughter of Borrego has won five of eight starts, including three of four on synthetic. She finished second in her last outing, beaten a head in the seven-furlong Glorious Song Stakes at Woodbine on November 14.
VALDEZ REMAINS HOSPITALIZED AFTER SPILL
Jockey Felipe Valdez, unseated shortly after the start of the second race Friday aboard Score for Fun, remained at Centinela Hospital in Inglewood with serious injuries, agent Alex Procel Crowley said Sunday.
“I just saw him this morning,” said Crowley. “His spirits are good, but he will be out for six months to a year.
“He had some broken vertebrae and a concussion,” added Crowley. “There was swelling in his brain, but it has come down, and he will not need an operation. There is no danger of paralysis, but he will need time to heal. He will be all right.”
ULTRA BLEND, U R ALL THAT I AM HEAD CAT’S CRADLE FIELD
Ultra Blend, winner of the California Cup Matron, and U R All That I Am, a multiple stakes winner, head a list of nine California-bred fillies and mares nominated to the $75,000-added Cat’s Cradle Handicap at 7 ½ furlongs next Sunday.
Word Association, another nominee, worked six furlongs in 1:14.60 Sunday.
LARGE CROWD BIDS FAREWELL TO ZENYATTA
A large stream of fans streamed to the John Shirreffs stable Sunday morning to bid farewell to Zenyatta several hours before the 6-year-old mare’s final public appearance in a ceremony at the track this afternoon.
“It was a tough morning to say goodbye to ’Big Mama,’” said veteran pony boy Freddy Wilson, who was married four times. “I’ve seen her here for 4 ½ years. I think I’m going to miss her more than all my wives.”
Zenyatta galloped on the training track for a final time under exercise rider Steve Willard before her adoring fans.
On the front side late in the morning, a long line of fans awaited autographs from Mike Smith, Zenyatta’s jockey, while others chose items from a memorabilia stand.
Zenyatta, who became the glamour queen of racing with 19 wins in 20 starts and a record $7.3-million in earnings, will be flown to Kentucky early Monday morning to begin a new career as a broodmare at Lane’s End Farm.
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