INGLEWOOD, Calif. (June 16, 2010)-Golden Itiz, an 11 ¼ length winner in his initial two turn race on April 28, will step into graded company for the first time in the $100,000 Affirmed Handicap on Saturday at Hollywood Park.
Owned by Mace and Samantha Siegel’s Jay Em Ess Stable and trained by Ron Ellis, the Tiznow colt out of the Dixieland Band mare Golden Tiy will have eight opponents in the Grade III for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on Cushion Track.
Known as the Silver Screen Handicap from 1979-1992, the Affirmed is a prep for the $200,000 Swaps, a Grade II at 1 1/8 miles, on July 17.
A $240,000 yearling purchase at the Keeneland September sale in 2008, Golden Itiz has won two of three and earned $50,080. He was third in his debut at 6 ½ furlongs on Feb. 11 at Santa Anita. He returned at the same distance on March 20 and won by two lengths before the successful stretch out in his Hollywood Park debut.
Tyler Baze, who has never won the Affirmed, retains the mount aboard Golden Itiz.
The winner of the $200,000 Snow Chief versus California breds in his last main track appearance on April 24, Alphie’s Bet will try to rebound from a poor effort on turf.
Owned by breeders Peter Johnson, Sr. and Teresa McWilliams and trained by Alexis Barba, Alphie’s Bet finished last in the Jim Murray Memorial Handicap against older rivals on May 15.
The son of Tribal Rule and the Candi’s Gold mare Miss Alphie will be looking for his fourth win in his ninth start. He has earned $261,320. Mike Smith, who rode him to victory in the Snow Chief, is back aboard. Alphie’s Bet will carry top weight of 119 pounds.
Trainer John Sadler, who won the race with the filly Melair in 1986, will have two participants Saturday – Distorted Dave and Ranger Heartley.
Owned by Highland Stock Farm and Stephen E. Johnson, Distorted Dave will be making his first start since finishing seventh in the Lexington, a Grade II, on the Polytrack at Keeneland on April 17.
A son of Distorted Humor colt and the Firery Ensign mare Crazy Ensign has won two of five. He’s banked $59,997. This will be his first start at Hollywood Park. Joel Rosario will ride.
Claimed for $32,000 by owners David and Herb Alpert out of a maiden race on July 19, 2009, Ranger Heartley has subsequently won four of eight. His biggest win came in the $100,000 California Derby on Jan. 16 at Golden Gate Fields.
A gelded son of Lost Soldier out of the Silver Deputy mare Deputy G.G., Ranger Heartley has earned $127,440 while winning four of 11. He won a first level allowance race in his most recent start at Hollywood Park last Nov. 27. Rafael Bejarano, who won the Affirmed a year ago with Grazen, has the call.
Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer will be looking for his fourth stakes win of the meet when he saddles Skipshot. Owned by Olympia Star Inc., the Skip Away colt out of the Sunny’s Halo mare Heavenly Note has won three of eight and earned $73,030.
His only two turn win came against allowance rivals on March 14 at Golden Gate. He has finished fifth in consecutive graded appearances. He was 7 ¾ lengths behind winner Sidney’s Candy in the Santa Anita Derby on April 3, then was beaten 3 ¾ lengths by Smiling Tiger in his Hollywood Park debut in the Lazaro Barrera Memorial on May 22. Joe Talamo will ride the $120,000 2-year-old purchase for the first time.
Another colt making his stakes debut is Mindblower. A son of Giant’s Causeway and the Unbridled mare Happily Unbridled owned by Ran Jan Racing Inc. and trained by Mike Puype, Mindblower has a win in two starts. He defeated maidens by a half-length in his first start on April 3 at Santa Anita, then was fourth behind Golden Itiz. He has earned $29,640. Puype is looking for his second Affirmed victory. He won with Old Trieste in 1998.
Well beaten in the Arlington Classic on grass on May 22, Summer Movie, who is also expected to be entered Thursday in the $100,000 Will Rogers Handicap, which will be run at 1 1/16 miles on turf on Sunday, would be making only his second start on a synthetic surface. He was seventh of 10 against maidens on the Polytrack at Del Mar in his initial outing last Aug. 29.
Trained by Art Sherman for owner George Krikorian, Summer Movie, a Holy Bull colt out of the Summer Squall mare Crazy Summer Fling has two wins in five tries. He’s earned $53,000, most of which came when he won an optional claimer by three lengths over the Hollywood Park turf on April 23.
Completing the field are Thomas Baines and Gallant Gent.
A gelded son of Johannesburg and the Cherokee Run mare Foofaraw owned by A J L Productions LLC and trained by Doug O’Neill, Thomas Baines has one win in eight starts in the United States since arriving from England.
Overall, Thomas Baines has won two of 15 and earned $76,270. He was sixth in the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate and seventh in the Santa Anita Derby in two prior graded stakes appearances.
Trained by Craig Lewis for Six-S Racing Stable and partners, Gallant Gent, a Yankee Gentleman gelding and the Knights Choice mare Bonne Nuite, will be making his first start of 2010.
A winner of three of seven while earning $107,400 as a 2-year-old, Gallant Gent has been away since finishing seventh of eight in the Delta Jackpot last Dec. 4 at Delta Downs. Claimed for $40,000 out of a winning debut against maidens on July 3, 2009 at Hollywood Park, Gallant Gent was third behind Lookin At Lucky and Pulsion in the Norfolk, a Grade 1, last Oct. 4 at Santa Anita.
From the inside out, the field for the 32nd Affirmed: Skipshot, Joe Talamo rides, 115 pounds; Golden Itiz, Tyler Baze, 116; Gallant Gent, Victor Espinoza, 114; Mindblower, Alonso Quinonez, 112; Distorted Dave, Joel Rosario, 115; Alphie’s Bet, Mike Smith, 119; Thomas Baines, David Flores, 114; Ranger Heartley, Rafael Bejarano, 116 and Summer Movie, Martin Garcia, 114.
The Affirmed is the eighth of nine races. Post time is 1 p.m.
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