INGLEWOOD, Calif. (May 1, 2013)—Liaison, who earned the biggest victory of his career in the Grade I CashCall Futurity in 2011, returns to Cushion Track in the $150,000-guaranteed Mervyn LeRoy Handicap Saturday at Betfair Hollywood Park.
A Grade II at 1 1/16 miles over Cushion Track, the LeRoy is the richer of two stakes on the 11-race card. The supporting feature is the $70,000-added Cool Frenchy for older horses at five furlongs. The LeRoy is the 10th race while the Cool Frenchy goes as the fifth.
In conjunction with the simulcast of the 139th Kentucky Derby from Churchill Downs, Betfair Hollywood Park will have an early post time of 11 a.m. Saturday.
The Kentucky Derby – which has a scheduled post time of 3:24 p.m. PDT – will be shown between Betfair Hollywood Park’s eighth and ninth races. The entire Derby Day card will be simulcast. Track gates will open at 7 a.m. The first import from Churchill Downs is scheduled for 7:30 a.m.
Trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert for owner Arnold Zetcher LLC, Liaison lost eight in a row after his victory in the CashCall, but returned to the winner’s circle March 31. The 4-year-old Indian Charlie colt prevailed by a half-length in the Santana Mile at Santa Anita.
The victory for Liaison, who is out of the Victory Gallop mare Galloping Gal, was his fourth in 13 starts and pushed his earnings to $631,794.
Bred in Kentucky by the William A. Carl Estate, Liaison has not been worse than third in four starts at Betfair Hollywood Park. He won the Real Quiet prior to his Futurity victory and was second in the Grade III Affirmed and third in the Grade II Swaps in 2012.
Baffert is also scheduled to start 2013 Strub Stakes winner Guilt Trip. The LeRoy, the first major prep for the Grade I, $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup July 6, would be the first start over synthetic for the 4-year-old son of Pulpit and the Quiet American mare Mysterieuse Etoile.
Owned by Gary and Mary West, Guilt Trip has won three of eight and banked $252,567.
Trainer John Sadler also entered a pair – Kettle Corn and Vagabond Shoes.
Winner of the 2011 Grade III Native Diver Handicap over Cushion Track, Kettle Corn is 7-for-20 with earnings of $394,111. The 6-year-old Candy Ride horse is owned by Lee and Susan Searing’s C R K Stable.
Out of the Lil E. Tee mare Somethingbeautiful, Kettle Corn has been away since finishing third behind Game On Dude and Nonios in the Native Diver Handicap last Dec. 1.
Vagabond Shoes will switch surfaces after failing to threaten in his first two starts on turf in this country.
An Irish bred son of Beat Hollow, the 6-year-old gelding out of the Singspiel mare Atiza has won six of 22 and banked $233,847.
In his two races for Hronis Racing, LLC, Vagabond Shoes finished ninth in the Grade II Arcadia Stakes Feb. 2 and eighth in the Grade I Kilroe Mile a month later.
Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who won four stakes races the first weekend of the Spring/Summer meet, will be represented by 2012 Swaps winner Blueskiesnrainbows.
Owned by Bad Boy Racing, LLC and Whizway Farms, the 4-year-old English Channel colt has two seconds and a win in three starts since joining the Hollendorfer stable.
A Virginia bred out of the Deputy Minister mare Cho Cho San, Blueskiesnrainbows has won four of 13 and earned $287,282.
A half-length behind Liaison in the Santana Mile, Midnight Transfer will make his Betfair Hollywood Park debut for owner Warren B. Williamson and trainer Carla Gaines.
A 4-year-old Hard Spun colt out of the French Deputy mare French Satin, Midnight Transfer has won three of 10. His bankroll is $182,600.
Tres Borrachos, the 11-1 upset winner of the 2008 Swaps, will seek his fourth local victory and second win of 2013 for owners George Hicker and Button Stable and trainer Marty Jones.
Third in the Santana Mile, Tres Borrachos ended a 13 race losing streak with a head decision over Hoorayforhollywood and three others in a $65,000 allowance Feb. 22 at Santa Anita.
An 8-year-old Ecton Park gelding out of the Peteski mare Pete’s Fancy, Tres Borrachos has won five of 46 and earned $1,029,723.
Jones – like all other trainers with an entrant in this race – is seeking his first LeRoy victory.
From inside out, the field for the Mervyn LeRoy Handicap: Tres Borrachos, Kayla Stra rides, 117 pounds; Blueskiesnrainbows, Tyler Baze, 115; Guilt Trip, Joe Talamo, 120; Liaison, Martin Garcia, 118; Vagabond Shoes, Martin Pedroza, 115; Kettle Corn, Victor Espinoza, 118; Midnight Transfer, Edwin Maldonado, 116.
Another CashCall Futurity winner – 2010 champion Comma to the Top – heads the Cool Frenchy cast.
Owned by Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum and Kevin Tsujihara and trained by Peter Miller, Comma to the Top is a three time winner over Cushion Track. In addition to his 1 ¾ length victory in the CashCall, the Bwana Charlie gelding won the Real Quiet Stakes in 2010 and a $56,000 allowance Dec. 11, 2011.
Out of the Stormy Atlantic mare Maggies Storm, Comma to the Top has won 12 of 29. The 5-year-old’s bankroll is $1,189,696. In his most recent appearance, the Florida bred was fourth in the Grade II Potrero Grande Stakes April 6 at Santa Anita.
Ain’t No Other will make his first start since finishing third in an allowance restricted to California breds March 17 at Santa Anita.
Trained by Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer, who won four stakes opening weekend at Betfair Hollywood Park, for owner-breeders Tom and Debi Stull’s Tommy Town Thoroughbreds, LLC, Ain’t No Other has won eight of 25. The 5-year-old gelded son of Old Topper and the Shadeed mare Miami Margie has banked $442,173.
Two of Hollendorfer’s stakes wins last weekend came for Tommy Town – Doinghardtimeagain in the Melair and Curvy Cat in the B. Thoughtful during the California Gold Rush program April 27.
Centralinteligence has been away since finishing sixth in the Grade I Triple Bend Handicap last June 30.
Trained by Ron Ellis for a partnership that includes Amerman Racing, LLC, Bongo Racing Stable, Gary Finder and Elias Sabo, the 5-year-old Smarty Jones gelding out of the Seattle Slew mare Shootforthestars has three wins in nine attempts and earnings of $134,550.
Italian Rules is back in the John Sadler barn after being re-claimed for $62,500 out of a runner-up finish behind Kate’s Event in an optional claimer April 7.
Owned by K.K. Sangara, the 8-year-old son of Tribal Rule and the Half a Year mare Golden Harmony has won nine of 28 and earnings of $458,780. Two of his wins have come over the Betfair Hollywood Park main track.
Courtside steps up after being claimed for $25,000 by trainer – and former jockey – Goncalino Almeida for Heart Racing Stable April 13. The gray son of Cindago has won five of 18. The gelding out of the Boston Harbor mare Wet has earned $207,350.
Maui Mark will be seeking his first win over Cushion Track as he returns to a synthetic surface for owners Michael Carter and Charles Galea and trainer Bob Hess, Jr.
An 8-year-old Unusual Heat gelding out of the Man From Eldorado mare Dalymount, Maui Mark has won 11 of 31 and boasts earnings of $419,378.He’s won four of 10 since being claimed for $20,000 by his current connections March 15, 2012 at Santa Anita.
L.A. Weekend returns to California after winning three in a row in New Mexico and Arizona for owner Rick Wiest. The 7-for-15 gelding, now in the stable of Kent Knudsen, has banked $249,215.
A 5-year-old California bred gelding out of the Avenue of Flags mare Storybook Fair, L.A. Weekend began his current win streak with a 5 ¾ length victory in an optional claimer Jan. 12 at Sunland Park, then won the Phoenix Gold Cup and Coyote Handicap in succession at Turf Paradise. He’s won two of four over Cushion Track.
Mark’s Cat earned his only win against $32,000 maiden claimers last Sept. 23 at Fairplex Park. Owned and trained by Robert Allen, the 3-year-old Benchmark colt out of the Yankee Gentleman mare Harmony Creator has earned $23,225 in nine starts. He has been idle since trailing in a starter allowance last Oct. 6 at Fresno.
From inside out, the field for the Cool Frenchy Stakes: Maui Mark, Martin Garcia rides, 124 pounds; Centralinteligence, Joe Talamo, 118; Ain’t No Other, Martin Pedroza, 124; Courtside, Orlando Mojica, 124; Italian Rules, Victor Espinoza, 118; Comma to the Top, Edwin Maldonado, 124; L.A. Weekend, Tyler Baze, 122 and Mark’s Cat, Saul Arias, 113.
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