Enhanced American Oaks, Gold Cup Among Meet Highlights; 50-Day Spring/Summer Season Begins Thursday, April 26

Racing News
Posted 03.11.12 at 9:09

© Benoit Photo

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (March 2, 2012) — The 73rd running of the $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup and the American Oaks, which was increased from $250,000 to $400,000, headline a stakes schedule worth more than $6.8 million for the 2012 Spring/Summer meet at Hollywood Park.

The 50-day season begins Thursday, April 26 and continues through Sunday, July 15.

A Grade I at 1 ¼ miles over Cushion Track, the Gold Cup, which was won a year ago by First Dude in thrilling fashion over stablemate Game On Dude and favored Twirling Candy, will be run Saturday, July 7, and is part of a stakes doubleheader. The card will also feature the $150,000 Royal Heroine Mile, a Grade II for older fillies and mares on turf.

The American Oaks, which featured a historic dead heat between Cambina and Nereid for its 10th anniversary in 2011, will be contested Saturday, July 14 and is the last of seven Grade I’s during the meet.

An invitational for 3-year-old fillies at 1 ¼ miles on turf, the American Oaks anchors a program that also includes the $200,000 A Gleam Handicap for older females at seven furlongs and the $200,000 Landaluce Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at six furlongs.

The Landaluce is one of four stakes races for 2-year-olds that have increased purses.

A Grade III at six furlongs, the Hollywood Juvenile Championship, which will be run Saturday, July 14, has, similarly to the Landaluce, doubled to $200,000. The Willard L. Proctor Memorial and Cinderella have gone from $70,000-added to $100,000. The Proctor and Cinderella are scheduled for Saturday, June 16.

“With the increase to $400,000, the American Oaks is one of the top races in the country for 3-year-old turf fillies and we believe it will attract a quality field,’’ said Martin Panza, Hollywood Park’s racing secretary and vice president-racing. “There’s no doubt 2-year-olds play an important role in the Spring/Summer meet, so the larger purses for the Willard Proctor, Cinderella, Landaluce and Hollywood Juvenile Championship is a way to try and reward the owners and trainers that do participate during the season.’’

A Grade I on turf, the $300,000 Shoemaker Mile, will be run Saturday, June 30, along with the $250,000 Triple Bend Handicap, a Grade I at seven furlongs.

For the first time, the Grade II Swaps Stakes will be offered on the 4th of July. The 1 18 mile race for 3-year-olds, which has a purse of $150,000, is the main attraction of the special Wednesday holiday card.

The Hollywood Gold Cup and American Oaks programs are among nine multiple stakes days at the meeting. The first is Gold Rush XIII. The annual showcase for California breds will be held Saturday, April 28.

Run at 1/18 miles, the $300,000 Snow Chief Stakes and the $300,000 Melair Stakes are the main Gold Rush events. The Snow Chief, which is for 3-year-olds, was worth $150,000 in 2011 while the Melair, which is for 3-year-old fillies, had a $125,000 purse a year ago. The other notable Gold Rush stakes are the $125,000 B. Thoughtful and $125,000 Tiznow.

In addition to the simulcast of the Kentucky Derby, Saturday, May 5 will feature the $150,000 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap, the $100,000 Senorita Stakes and the $70,000-added Cool Frenchy Stakes. The LeRoy, a Grade II at 1 1/16 miles, is the first prep for the Gold Cup.

Along with the simulcast of the Belmont Stakes, the primary race Saturday, June 9 is the $250,000 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap, a Grade I at 1 ¼ miles on turf. There will be two other stakes that afternoon – the $150,000 Honeymoon Handicap and the $70,000-added Manhattan Beach.

A Grade II at 1 1/8 miles, the $150,000 Californian, which was taken by Crown of Thorns in 2011, will be run Saturday, June 2.

The Vanity, which has been won the last four years by either Zenyatta or Blind Luck, will be run Saturday, June 16. A Grade I at 1 1/8 miles, the Vanity has a purse of $250,000.

For a second consecutive year, the Gold Cup, Shoemaker Mile and A Gleam are “Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In’’ races. The winners of those events will earn a spot in the corresponding Breeders’ Cup race. For instance, the Gold Cup winner would qualify for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, which will be run Nov. 3 at Santa Anita.

The stakes schedule commences April 26 with the $70,000-added Harry Henson Stakes. Named in honor of the legendary track announcer who worked at Hollywood Park from 1958-1982, the Henson is for 3-year-olds at six furlongs on turf.

Headlining the first Friday night program of the meet April 27 is the $100,000 Inglewood Handicap. A Grade III on turf, the Inglewood has been lengthened from 1 1/16 miles to 1 1/8 miles in 2012.

View the complete Stakes Schedule

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