INGLEWOOD, Calif. (December 18, 2011) — Liaison, who won the Real Quiet and the Grade I, $750,000 CashCall Futurity five weeks later, was a unanimous selection as Horse of the Meet in the annual media poll as the Autumn meet concluded Sunday.
Owned by Arnold Zetcher and trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, Liaison, a son of the recently-deceased Indian Charlie, made his stakes debut in the Real Quiet, then picked up his third win in a row against 12 opponents in the Futurity.
In addition, Liaison, who has lost only once while earning $469,560, was voted top 2-year-old and 2-year-old male.
Killer Graces, who reaffirmed her fondness for Cushion Track with a 14-1 upset in the Hollywood Starlet Dec. 10, was a unanimous choice as 2-year-old filly.
The daughter of Congaree has won three times – all stakes – at Hollywood Park. She won the Cinderella and Landaluce during the Spring-Summer meet for a partnership that includes Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, Dan Borislow, Gillian Campbell and Steve Melen.
Other thoroughbred selections were Hollywood Derby upsetter Ultimate Eagle (3-year-old and 3-year-old male), Matriarch winner Star Billing (3-year-old filly), Native Diver Handicap winner Kettle Corn (older male), Bayakoa heroine Ellafitz (older female) and Vernon O. Underwood Stakes winner Pacific Ocean (sprinter).
Sanagas, who shipped from the opposite coast for trainer H. Graham Motion and dominated in the Grade I Hollywood Turf Cup Nov. 19, was selected turf horse and Willyconker, a 4-year-old Pyros gelding who won twice on grass in December for a partnership and trainer Doug O’Neill, was honored as claiming horse.
On the human side, Eswan Flores was the choice as the top apprentice while Joel Rosario was selected top jockey. Rosario won his third consecutive Autumn title, finishing four winners (37-33) in front of runner-up Rafael Bejarano.
In a close vote over Baffert, Mike Mitchell, who overtook Charlie Whittingham to move into second on the all-time list at Hollywood Park when Muny captured the third race Nov. 24, was chosen top trainer.
Mitchell, who has 874 victories locally, trailing only Bobby Frankel (952), won the training title. He wound up with 18 wins, two more than O’Neill and three more than Baffert. The championship was Mitchell’s seventh at Hollywood Park, but his first since he led the Spring/Summer meet in 1997.
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