The Grade I, $500,000-guaranteed Hollywood Starlet, which will be run Saturday at 1 1/16 miles on Cushion Track, could have as many as seven participants.
Trained by Bob Baffert, Executiveprivilege, a two-time Grade I winner, lost for the first time in six starts when defeated by Beholder in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Nov. 2.
Mike Smith replaces Rafael Bejarano, who had ridden the First Samurai filly in each of her previous starts. Smith worked Executiveprivilege a half mile in 47 seconds Nov. 20 at Santa Anita. The Hall of Famer rode Game On Dude to victory for Baffert in Saturday’s Native Diver Stakes.
Adding intrigue to the race is Blonde Fog, also conditioned by Baffert. The daughter of Divine Park made quite an impression in her debut, winning by more than 12 lengths against maiden special weights at the Starlet distance.
Other likely entrants are Midnight Ballet (trained by Tom Proctor), who captured the Sharp Cat Stakes Nov. 11 in her Cushion Track debut, Renee’s Titan (Doug O’Neill), second to Midnight Ballet in the same race, and Scarlet Strike (Jerry Hollendorfer), second to Executiveprivilege in the Grade I Chandalier Stakes.
Possibles are Pure Fun (Ken McPeek) and Secret Motive (Julio Canani), both of whom would have to be supplemented. Late nominations are accepted until entries are taken Wednesday.
INGLORIOUS SET TO INVADE FOR BAYAKOA STAKES
When entries are taken for Saturday’s $200,000Bayakoa Stakes- Presented by the Oak Tree Racing Association – at least five are anticipated to go. A Grade II, the Bayakoa, which is run at 1 1/16 miles over Cushion Track, is for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds & up.
Inglorious, a five-time stakes winner in Canada, will bring a large bankroll of $1,378,751 with her to Southern California. The daughter of Hennessy last raced in July, when she was third in the Grade II Dance Smartly Stakes at Woodbine. Mike Smith will ride for trainer Josie Carroll.
With earnings of $624,896, Willa B. Awesome (trained by Walther Solis) will try to get back on track after going winless in four starts since taking the Melair Stakes on California Gold Rush Day April 28. The bargain $18,000 Barretts Juvenile purchase won the Grade I Santa Anita Oaks and Grade III Santa Ysabel earlier in the year. Regular rider Martin Pedroza has the call.
Jerry Hollendorfer’s assistant trainer Dan Ward is bullish about the chances of Lady of Fifty, who will be piloted by Martin Garcia. The grey daughter of After Market put it all together in an upset victory over Awesomundo in the recent Palm Springs Handicap in Arcadia. She’s trained sensationally for the Bayakoa, topped by a best of the morning six furlong work in 1:13 over Cushion Track Nov. 29. Hollendorfer also nominated Halo Dolly, but she’s unlikely to start.
Other probables are Charm the Maker (trained by Ron McAnally) a close second in the 2011 Hollywood Starlet, and Open Water (Eric Guillot), third to Lady of Shamrock in the Grade I Del Mar Oaks Aug. 18.
GAME ON DUDE IN GOOD SHAPE AFTER NATIVE DIVER WIN
Assistant trainer Mike Marlow said Sunday that Game On Dude returned in “good shape” following his game victory in Saturday’s Native Diver Stakes.
“I thought he was impressive,” said Marlow, longtime assistant to Bob Baffert. “He was tested all the way. Mike Smith’s move on the first turn was a key factor in the race.” Marlow indicated Game On Dude was still at Betfair Hollywood Park and would likely ship to Santa Anita Monday.
Following the race, Baffert indicated his next major objective with Game On Dude would be the Santa Anita Handicap next March.
Nonios, a gallant second to Game On Dude, also came out of the race well, according to Dan Ward, Jerry Hollendorfer’s assistant trainer. “He’s not as tired as you would expect,’’ said Ward. “He runs hard, that horse. He’s pretty good this morning—nice and fresh.”
Ward wondered if the positioning on the clubhouse turn might have made a difference. “We had that horse (Game On Dude) in the position we wanted to going into the first turn, and we let him through,’’ he said. “If you’re going to send out of there, cross over and make that guy take a hold. I sure would have liked him (Pedroza) to be more aggressive. I don’t know, maybe he didn’t have enough speed to cross over. Those guys know what they’re doing.”
Meanwhile, trainer Peter Miller relayed that Reneesgotzip, the relentless winner of the Skillful Joy Stakes, came out of the victory fine.
“That was one of her toughest wins,” said Miller. “She struggled all the way, but won on class alone. She didn’t care for the track, but though it was slow, it was a safe track. That’s the main thing, the safety. I’m going to talk to the owner, but if everything looks good, she’ll probably run next in the La Brea Stakes (Dec. 26 at Santa Anita).’’
Nechez Dawn, who was caught by Reneesgotzip in deep stretch, “came back well,” according to trainer Jeff Bonde. “She’s a real trier.”
CLOSING STRIDES: Martin Pedroza is one win shy of 3,500 for his career….Trainer Dan Hendricks will celebrate his 54th birthday Wednesday……..Saturday was a good illustration of why the Players’ Pick 5 is one of the most value-filled wagers at the track. Sonoftokayana scored a $117.40 suprise in the opener, but the next four winners returned $5.40 (Myntz Connection), $2.60 (Reneesgotzip), $2.60 (Game On Dude) and $5 (Scorpion Time). A 50-cent parlay would have paid approximately $250. The 50-cent payoff for the Players’ Pick 5 was $1,404.30…….For the fifth consecutive Saturday, the Pick Six pool not only reached its $150,000 guarantee, but went over the $200,000 mark, which triggered $1 hot dogs and beer for fans at Whittingham’s Pub. The pool Saturday was $207,597. The second-place finisher in the 10th race, Mind the Master, would have meant a single winner in the Pick Six and a new Toyota Prius –courtesy of Toyota of Orange – to the ticket holder. The win by Rockin Cherokee in the final race Saturday trigged a carryover of $110,904…Entering Sunday’s races, only 18 contestants remained alive in the $2,500 winner-take-all Show Me the Money contest.
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