Dan Ward, assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, indicated that both Lady of Fifty and Esentepe will start in Saturday’s Grade I, $250,000 Vanity Handicap at 1 1-8 miles on Cushion Track.
Lady of Fifty is the more accomplished of the two. The 4-year-old gray daughter of After Market won the Grade II Bayakoa Handicap last Dec. 8 at Betfair Hollywood Park and was second to Open Water in the Grade II Marjorie L. Everett Handicap May 18 in her first start in three months.
Esentepe, a Group III winner in England, was extremely impressive winning an optional claimer May 9 in her Cushion Track debut. Rafael Bejarano rode both fillies last time and it is uncertain which one he will ride in the Vanity. Corey Nakatani will ride the other.
Open Water will try to show that her 9-1 upset victory in the Everett was not a fluke. The Eric Guillot trainee previously was runner-up to Lady of Fifty in the Bayakoa. Joe Talamo retains the mount.
More Chocolate captured the Grade II La Canada Stakes Jan. 20 at Santa Anita, defeating Lady of Fifty by 4 ¼ lengths and Open Water by nearly eight. The Vanity would mark her first try on a synthetic track. Garrett Gomez has the assignment for trainer John Sadler.
Mark Glatt left open the possibility that Royal Tiger would return quickly to run in the Vanity. The 6-year-old Hold That Tiger mare crushed $40,000 optional claimers by 14 lengths June 2.
As of Sunday, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert was undecided about the status of his two Vanity nominees, Candrea and Maker Or Breaker. Candrea, a Grade I-placed daughter of Trippi, hasn’t run since finishing second in the Santa Lucia Stakes April 14. She’s won two of three starts on Cushion Track. Maker Or Breaker set the pace in the Everett before tiring to fourth.
ANOTHER IMPRESSIVE ROMP FOR BAFFERT-TRAINED DECLASSIFY
If Declassify’s ability was ever a classified secret, the cat’s out of the bag now.
The dark bay son of Orientate made it 2-for-2 Saturday at Betfair Hollywood Park with an imposing 7 1-2 length victory. In his April 6 debut at six furlongs, he cantered home by 11 1-2 lengths in a brilliant 1:08 4/5 at Santa Anita.
Declassify was bought for $450,000 by Bob Baffert at the 2012 April Ocala Breeders Sale for 2-year-olds in training.
It wasn’t the pedigree that attracted such a big purchase price. Declassify’s dam, Mir Cat, never started, and his only sibling, A Mir Do Buy, also was unraced.
“He came out of the same sale as Executiveprivilege,” said Baffert. “We bought him strictly for his athletic ability. He had worked really fast and did things the right way. We took our time with him because he had a few minor setbacks like shins and a quarter cracks.”
Baffert watched Declassify’s race, along with Fast Bullet’s victory in the $400,000, Grade II True North Handicap at Belmont Park from his home. The trainer is not sure where Declassify will start next, but his long term goal is the Grade I King’s Bishop Stakes Aug. 25 at Saratoga.
MIZDIRECTION RETURNS WELL FROM JUST A GAME STAKES
Though disappointed with Mizdirection’s fifth-place finish in Saturday’s Grade I, $500,000 Just a Game Stakes at Belmont Park, trainer Mike Puype is far from discouraged.
“I’m not making any excuses,” said Puype shortly after landing in Los Angeles Sunday morning. “It’s just the circumstances. After all the rain they got, the turf course was really deep. When they come out here, it’s different, and when we fly there, it’s different. I don’t think her quality is in question. We had to take a chance with the race being a Grade I and for all that money.”
Puype said Mizdirection, who had won four consecutive graded races prior to the Just a Game, is due back at Betfair Hollywood Park Sunday night. He said she came out of the race “well,” but will take some time to evaluate her before deciding where she’ll run next.
SPECIAL 75 CENT PRICING OFFERED SATURDAY, JUNE 15
In celebration of Hollywood Park’s diamond anniversary, Betfair Hollywood Park will offer special 75 cent pricing Saturday, June 15.
General admission, programs, hot dogs and sodas will be available for 75 cents the entire day. Beer will be offered at the reduced price for 75 minutes – from 1 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.
Additionally, a prix fixe menu with a choice of soup or salad, main course selection, dessert and a glass of champagne in a commemorative 75th anniversary flute will be offered in the Turf Club. The cost is $75 per couple. Reservations can be made by calling 310-419-1601.
Post time June 15 is 1 p.m. Track gates will open at 9:55 a.m. for simulcasts.
The feature attraction is the $250,000 Vanity Handicap, a Grade I for older fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles over Cushion Track. The card will also include a pair of stakes for 2-year-olds – the $100,000 Willard L. Proctor Memorial and the $100,000 Cinderella Stakes for fillies. Both are at 5 ½ furlongs over Cushion Track.
The fifth $150,000-guaranteed Pick Six Saturday of the Spring/Summer meet will also be offered.
If the Pick Six pool exceeds $200,000 on any of the remaining selected Saturdays – which also include June 22, June 29, July 6 and July 13 – there will be Happy Hour food and drink specials available at Whittingham’s Pub and the Betfair Players’ Lounge.
A bonus – a 2013 Toyota Prius courtesy of Toyota of Orange – will also be given to a single winning ticket – provided it was purchased either at Betfair Hollywood Park or through Television Games Network (TVG).
CLOSING STRIDES —In good spirits but wearing a brace and on crutches, jockey Joy Scott was a visitor Saturday at Betfair Hollywood Park. Scott suffered a compound fracture of her right femur in a training accident at Santa Anita March 12……Tale of a Champion, winner of the Grade II, $200,250 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap, and Sarach, who took the Grade II, $150,750 Honeymoon Handicap, both returned in good order, according to respective trainers Kristin Mulhall and Richard Mandella. Mulhall said Tale of a Champion may run next in the Grade III Sunset Handicap July 14, while Mandella indicated Sarach would return in the Grade I, $350,000 American Oaks July 13……..The single winning ticket in Saturday’s Pick 6 was purchased through Twin Spires at a cost of $540 and contained the only two horses – Fernando Suancini, who finished seventh and winner Sinfully – that were alive……..Jockey Chantal Sutherland, who began a comeback Friday in Canada, finished third aboard Erma Lee in Saturday’s 10th race at Woodbine. The 37-year-old had been working horses in Southern California to get fit………Trainer Ron Ellis plans to start both Teddy’s Promise and Include Me Out in the $70,000-added Desert Stormer Handicap June 16. Grade I winner Teddy’s Promise is 5-for-9 on Cushion Track, including an easy win in the Time to Leave Stakes May 5. Include Me Out, victorious in the Santa Margarita and Clement L. Hirsch—both Grade I’s —posted a victory on Cushion Track in the 2012 Marjorie L. Everett Handicap. The Desert Stormer is run at six furlongs…..Kinz Funky Monkey, upset winner ($33.20) of the $73,600 Manhattan Beach Stakes Saturday, is named after owner Rocco Aceto’s 11-year-old granddaughter, Kinzie.
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