INGLEWOOD, Calif. (July 6, 2012)—Michael Matz, best known for training 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro and Union Rags, who won a thrilling renewal of the Belmont Stakes June 9, has nominated Colonial Flag and Somali Lemonade to the $350,000 American Oaks.
A Grade I for 3-year-old fillies at 1 ¼ miles on turf, the American Oaks is the most lucrative of four graded stakes that will be run the final two days (July 14-15) of the Spring/Summer meet at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Besides the American Oaks, which attracted 12 other nominees besides the Matz duo, the Saturday, July 14 program will also feature the Grade II, $200,000 A Gleam Handicap, the Grade III, $150,000 Hollywood Juvenile Championship and the $150,000 Landaluce.
The main event on Sunday, July 15 is the traditional closing day feature – the Grade III, $100,000 Sunset Handicap. The 1 ½ mile turf race lured 12 nominees, including Inglewood Handicap winner Utopian and Dhaamer, who won the Round Table for trainer Mike Mitchell.
Owned by Skara Glen Stable, W.S. Farish and ENL Stables LLC, Colonial Flag has won two of four and earned $98,075. In her most recent appearance, the daughter of Pleasant Tap and the Smart Strike mare Silk n’ Sapphire was second in the Grade III Regret June 16 at Churchill Downs.
A Lemon Drop Kid filly out of the Nureyev mare Chic Corine, Somali Lemonade is 2-for-6 for owner Caroline Forgason. Betfair Hollywood Park would be the fifth different track at which Somali Lemonade has run if she starts July 14.
Bred in Kentucky by Cina Forgason, Somali Lemonade won the first two races of her career, defeating maidens at Belmont Park last Sept. 11 before rallying from far off the pace to take the Grade III Jessamine Oct. 13 at Keeneland. She has placed in a pair of stakes in 2012 – finishing second in the Grade III Appalachian at Keeneland and third in the Grade III Boiling Springs June 23 at Monmouth Park.
The nominees also include European shippers Angegreen, the runner-up in the Group II Italian Oaks, Miss Cato and Nayarra, who was third in the Group III Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes April 18 at Newmarket in England.
Regalo Mia, a Sligo Bay filly owned by Steven Ciccarone and trained by Michelle Nihei, has been 1-2-3 in five of six on turf and comes off a nose loss in the Grade II Sands Point May 28 at Belmont Park.
Trained by Al Stall, Jr. for B. Wayne Hughes’ Spendthrift Farm LLC, Treasured Up was third in the Regret – fourth place finisher Left a Message is also nominated to the American Oaks for Glen Hill Farm and trainer Tom Proctor – and has won two of six and earned $82,801.
Koko Loca was sixth in the Edgewood May 4 at Churchill Downs in her United States debut for Great Friends Stable, RAP Racing and W.C. Racing and trainer Doug O’Neill.
The locals nominated include My Gi Gi, Lady of Shamrock and Stormy Lucy, the 1-2-3 finishers in the Grade II Honeymoon Handicap June 9, Killer Graces, the winner of the 2011 Hollywood Starlet, and Best Present Ever, a California bred daughter of Unusual Heat who has won three in a row on grass for breeders Dennis and Norine Grenier and trainer Eric Kruljac.
Run at seven furlongs over Cushion Track for fillies and mares, the A Gleam is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In’’event.
The Breeders’ Cup nominated winner of the A Gleam will receive automatic entry into the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, which will be run Nov. 2 at Santa Anita. All entry fees will be waived and the winning owner will receive a $10,000 travel allowance.
The 11 nominees to the A Gleam include a pair – American Lady and Glamorista – from the barn of Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who won the race a year ago with Irish Gypsy.
The other nominees: Izzy Rules, Mega Dream, Mildly Offensive, Moonstruck Maya, Rumor, She’s Cheeky, Sugarinthemorning, Switch, a two-time Grade I winner for Lee and Susan Searing’s C R K Stable and trainer John Sadler, and Teddy’s Promise.
The Hollywood Juvenile’s eight nominees are topped by Amarish, who is undefeated in two starts over Cushion Track, including the Willard L. Proctor Memorial June 16.
The dozen nominees to the Landaluce include Cinderella Stakes winner Miss Empire and Executiveprivilege, who overcame a horrible start to win her June 28 debut impressively for Baffert and owners Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman.
Entries for the American Oaks, A Gleam, Hollywood Juvenile and Landaluce will be taken Wednesday, July 11. Sunset entries will be taken Thursday, July 12.
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