INGLEWOOD, Calif. (April 18) – Fresh off a stellar meet at the recently-concluded Santa Anita season, Rafael Bejarano will try to win the $60,000 Harry Henson aboard Face And An Ace as Hollywood Park kicks off its 71st spring-summer meet on Wednesday.
A six furlong turf race for 3-year-olds, the Henson is the seventh of eight races on the program, which starts at 1 p.m.
Bejarano, who was the leading rider during the 2008 spring-summer meet at Hollywood Park and second a year ago behind Joel Rosario, has won two in a row on the grass aboard Face And An Ace.
A gelded son of Came Home owned by breeders John and Cheryl Toffan and trained by Paco Gonzalez, Face And An Ace is perfect with Bejarano. The chestnut won against maidens on Feb. 20, then an optional claimer on March 18.
Third in his only previous race on the turf at Hollywood Park, Face And An Ace will have nine opponents in the Henson, which was won in 2009 by Bejarano and Backbackbackgone.
From the inside out, here is the Henson field: Willyconker, Brice Blanc aboard, 121 pounds; Smiling Tiger, Victor Espinoza, 119, Our Minesweeper, Rosario, 121; Majestic Afleet, Mike Smith, 117; Face And An Ace, Bejarano, 119; Excessive Passion, Martin Garcia, 119: Locksley Hall, Joe Talamo, 117; Hollywood Harbor, Tyler Baze, 121; Dixie Trouper, David Flores, 119, and Big Man Has A Sign, Martin Pedroza, 117.
First post time is 1 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays for the 2010 meeting with the usual 7:05 p.m. start on Friday nights. The lone exception to the Friday night calendar will be a 1 p.m. post time on April 30-Kentucky Oaks Day and the eve of the Kentucky Derby.
There will be three other post time differences – all relating to the Triple Crown – during the meet, which climaxes on Sunday, July 18.
Post time will be at 11 a.m. on Kentucky Derby Day – Saturday, May 1 – as will Preakness Day (May 15) and Belmont Stakes Day (June 5).
There are also deviations from the normal Wednesday-Sunday schedule. Hollywood Park will be open for simulcasting only – beginning at 10:15 a.m. – on the following Thursdays – April 22, April 29, June 3, July 1, July 8 and July 15.
Free box seats will be available on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Regular prices are $8 for General Admission, $10 for Clubhouse and $20 for Turf Club. Seniors 62 and older will receive a $3 discount on Wednesdays. All prices include parking and an official program.
The $250,000 American Oaks and the $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup are the highlights of the $5.8 million stakes schedule.
The ninth running of the American Oaks will be Saturday, July 3 along with the $150,000 Royal Heroine.
The Gold Cup will be run for the 71st time on Saturday, July 10. The Gold Cup program also includes the $250,000 Triple Bend Handicap.
There are 45 stakes on the calendar, including seven Grade 1 events. There are 10 Grade II events and 11 Grade III races. There are seven days with two or more stakes races, commencing with the $860,000 California Gold Rush on Saturday.
The first Grade 1 on the schedule is the $250,000 Gamely Stakes on Saturday, May 29 for older fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on turf.
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