INGLEWOOD, Calif. (July 1, 2012)—Nonios, the upset winner of the Grade III Affirmed Handicap June 3, will stretch to 1 1/8 miles in the $150,000 Swaps Stakes Wednesday at Betfair Hollywood Park.
A Grade II for 3-year-olds over Cushion Track, the Swaps is the seventh of eight races on the special 4th of July program. Post time is 1 p.m. Track gates will open at 9:55 a.m. for simulcasts. Veterans and active duty personnel – with military identification – will receive free general admission.
Owned by Green B. Smith, Jr. and trained by Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer, Nonios skimmed the rail at nearly 16-1 to defeat even-money favorite Liaison by a half-length in the Affirmed.
A son of Pleasantly Perfect and the Touch Gold mare Stylish Manner, Nonios has won three of four and earned $99,000. Hollendorfer won the 2010 Swaps with Skipshot, who upset Sidney’s Candy.
Hollendorfer also entered the California bred Rousing Sermon.
A Lucky Pulpit colt out of the Awesome Again mare Rousing Again, the chestnut has two wins in 10 races for owner-breeders Mr. and Mrs. Larry D. Williams. Second in both the CashCall Futurity and Real Quiet, Rousing Sermon has earnings of $404,000.
The Swaps will be his first appearance since he finished eighth in the Kentucky Derby May 5 at Churchill Downs.
Trainer Bob Baffert also entered a pair – 2011 Real Quiet Stakes and Grade I CashCall Futurity winner Liaison and Blueskiesnrainbows – in his quest for a record fifth Swaps win.
Baffert’s four victories – the latest with Misremembered in 2009 – leaves him tied for the most in the race with fellow Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas.
A son of Indian Charlie and the Victory Gallop mare Galloping Gal, Liaison has won three of nine and banked $507,560 for owner Arnold Zetcher.
Owned by Bad Boy Racing LLC and Whizway Farms, Blueskiesnrainbows is a son of English Channel and the Deputy Minister mare Cho Cho San.
He has yet to win a graded event in seven starts, but did finish a close third at 42-1 after setting the pace in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby April 7. Blueskiesnrainbows was beaten a half-length by winner I’ll Have Another, who went on to capture the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.
Bred in Virginia by Edward Evans, Blueskiesnrainbows has won twice and earned $131,242. His maiden victory came over Cushion Track. He defeated $30,000 claimers by 2 ¾ lengths going six furlongs last Dec. 1.
Called to Serve will be making his initial start in a stakes after consecutive wins for owners Mr. and Mrs. Marc Ferrell and trainer Peter Eurton.
A gelded son of Afleet Alex and the Kris S. mare Andover Lady, Called to Serve defeated maidens by 3 ¼ lengths April 14 at Santa Anita before defeating older rivals by a half-length at the Swaps distance in his Cushion Track debut May 28.
Bred in Kentucky by Tracy Farmer, Called to Serve is 2-for-5 with earnings of $76,430.
Empire Way returns to Cushion Track after consecutive off-the-board finishes on turf for owner Heinz Steinmann and trainer Mike Harrington. The Empire Maker colt out of the A.P. Indy mare Delta Princess – making him a full brother to 2011 3-year-old filly champion Royal Delta – has lost six in a row since winning his 6 ½ furlong debut last Nov. 13.
Bred in Kentucky by Palides Investments, N.V., Inc., Empire Way has earned $115,590.
All Squared Away, the 70-1 winner of the Grade III Lexington Stakes April 21 at Keeneland, will make his first start in California since March Wednesday.
Trained by Peter Miller for Altamira Racing Stable and Wire to Wire Racing, Inc., the Bellamy Road gelding out of the Posse mare Squared is 2-for-10 with a bankroll of $167,178. He’s winless in four races over Cushion Track.
From inside out, the field for the 39th Swaps Stakes: Rousing Sermon, Mike Smith rides, 118 pounds; Blueskiesnrainbows, Joe Talamo, 112; Empire Way, Martin Garcia, 112; All Squared Away, David Flores, 120; Liaison, Rafael Bejarano, 120; Nonios, Martin Pedroza, 118 and Called to Serve, Garrett Gomez, 114.
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