Champion Blind Luck has been retired, but Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer has plenty to look forward to with his young stock. Hollendorfer hopes to start the Hollywood Park Autumn meet off with a bang this weekend with 2-year-olds Rousing Sermon in the $100,000 Real Quiet Stakes Saturday and Killer Graces in the $100,000 Sharp Cat Stakes for fillies Sunday. Both races are 1 1/16 miles on Cushion Track.
Hollendorfer hopes that Rousing Sermon, winner of the California Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita in his last start October 29, continues in his stakes-winning form and that Killer Graces regains the form that enabled her to win the Cinderella and Landaluce stakes here this summer.
“We felt Killer Graces really didn’t like the track at Del Mar,” said assistant and exercise rider Tessa Bisha Thursday in reference to disappointing showings in the Sorrento Stakes and Del Mar Debutante. “She stumbled out of the gate in the Sorrento and didn’t show the same drive down there,” said Bisha. “She is back on a surface that she enjoys the best. And being by Congaree, she has always shown a style to run from off the pace and should like the distance.”
Rousing Sermon, who broke his maiden at first asking here in June, rallied to win the Cal Cup Juvenile by 2 ¼ lengths going away at 1 1/16 miles. “He came out of that race with a lot of energy,” said Bisha. “It didn’t seem to take much out of him. He has no speed. He just lays back and finishes strong.”
Rousing Sermon will carry high weight of 123 pounds as he tries to follow in the footsteps of Chocolate Candy, who won the 2008 Real Quiet for Hollendorfer.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert also has contenders in the two races. He will send out Liaison, a facile maiden winner in his last start at Santa Anita, in the Real Quiet; and Lady Pecan, fourth-place finisher in the Anoakia Stakes, in the Sharp Cat.
McANALLY EYES MATRIARCH WITH ALL STAR HEART
Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally said Thursday that All Star Heart, winner of the Grade II Las Palmas Stakes Sunday at Santa Anita, would probably make her next start in the $250,000 Matriarch, a Grade I test for fillies and mares at one mile on turf here November 25.
“The most logical place is the Matriarch; that’s been a good race for us,” said McAnally, who won the race with Auspiciante in 1986 and Tout Charmant in 2000.
“She’s a classy filly,” said McAnally of the 4-year-old who has won five of her last seven starts. “I liked her from the beginning. I always thought she had the ability to win a stake and she proved it Sunday.”
McAnally has a more immediate eye Sunday on the $100,000 Sharp Cat Stakes, in which he will send out Charm the Maker, who could rule as the favorite off a third-place finish in the Grade I Oak Leaf Stakes in her last start.
“She was short that race,” said McAnally of the filly’s first effort around two turns after breaking her maiden at six furlongs in her debut. “But she’s bred to go long.” Charm the Maker, by Empire Maker out of the Giant’s Causeway mare Charm the Giant, is owned by McAnally’s wife Deborah.
McAnally also said that Goldwaki, who worked one mile on the turf in 1:46.80 Thursday, is under consideration for the $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup, a Grade I test at 1 ½ miles, November 19.
EUROPEANS TO INVADE FOR TURF FESTIVAL
Assistant racing secretary and stakes co-ordinator Dan Eidson had some good news on his desk Thursday: a list of five European invaders expected for the five-race Turf Festival November 25-27.
Heading the list is Western Aristocrat, who won the Grade I Jamaica Handicap on the Belmont Park turf October 8 in his United States debut after being campaigned in England by Jeremy Noseda. He will run in the $250,000 Grade I Hollywood Derby at 1 ¼ miles November 27.
The Hollywood Derby is also expected to attract Slumber, an English-bred Juddmonte Farms colt who won the James Seymour Stakes at Newmarket October 29 in his last start for trainer Charles Hills. Hills also plans to ship Island Paradise for the $100,000 Miesque Stakes for two-year-old fillies November 25.
Strawberry Daiquiri, a five-year-old English-bred mare, is a candidate for the $250,000 Grade I Matriarch for fillies and mares at one mile November 25. The daughter of Dansili is a Group II winner and Group I runner-up in England for trainer Brian Meehan.
Irish-based trainer Dermot Weld is eyeing the $100,000 Generous Stakes for two-year-olds November 27 with Blue White Fire.
FINISH LINES—Multiple stakes winner Bourbon Bay and Sanagas, a Maryland shipper trained by Graham Motion, are prominent among candidates for the $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup, a Grade I test at 1 ½ miles November 19…Lure Stakes winner John Johny Jak and California Cup Classic winner Norvsky are expected to clash in the $250,000 Citation Handicap, a Grade II test at 1 1/16 miles on turf November 26…Trainer Leonard Powell reported that Venomous, a French import who closed strongly to finish second in the Oak Tree Derby in his United States debut, will work here Saturday in preparation for the Hollywood Derby…Vision in Gold neared a return to the races with a five-furlong work on the main track in 1:01.60 for trainer Ron Ellis. “She chipped an ankle after the Santa Margarita,” said owner Samantha Siegel in explanation of the layoff for the four-year-old filly who won the Grade II Santa Maria Stakes before finishing third in the Grade I Santa Margarita in March at Santa Anita. Siegel also looks forward to seeing the Ellis-trained Golden Itiz in the $60,000 featured Yo Eleven Friday night over the surface on which the 4-year-old colt has won three of four starts, including the Affirmed Handicap…Trainer Peter Eurton said that Del Mar Debutante and Oak Leaf Stakes winner Weemissfrankie came back in good shape from a third-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and that he has not ruled out a return in the Hollywood Starlet on December 10…Dan Ward, assistant to trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, underwent hip replacement surgery today…Hunch players may like Rags For Ben in the fifth race Friday night, the only number 11 on the 11-11-11 card.
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