Trainer Doug O’Neill, a 10-time meet leader at Hollywood Park during the past decade, hopes to pan gold Saturday during the California Gold Rush, an eight stakes program for California-breds.
During a busy morning in Barn 63 North Wednesday, the 42-year-old conditioner entered Thirtyfirststreet in the featured $150,000 Snow Chief Stakes for 3-year-olds, Quick Enough and Scofield Barracks in the $125,000 Tiznow at 7 ½ furlongs and Dani Reese in the $125,000 B. Thoughtful for fillies and mares at 7 ½ furlongs.
O’Neill, who also entered Boxeur des Rues in the opening-day Harry Henson Stakes Thursday, is anxious to see Thirtyfirststreet regain the form he flashed at the end of last year, when he broke his maiden here and captured the California Breeders’ Champion Stakes last Dec. 26 at Santa Anita.
Thirtyfirststreet, a son of Good Journey, subsequently finished fourth in the Robert Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita and ran a dismal ninth, beaten by 20 lengths, in the Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park in Kentucky in his last start on March 26.
Thirtyfirststreet is co-owned by Mark Gorman, who bred the colt in partnership with O’Neill and owns him in partnership with Neil Haymes and Sterling Stables.
“He stumbled out of the gate in the Lewis,” said Gorman, a retired swimming pool executive from Ventura. “Hopefully it was the racetrack in Kentucky. There was a lot of dust and it was a loose synthetic. He didn’t like it. I hope he comes back to where he was before he left.”
O’Neill, who named the colt after the street on which he lives in Santa Monica, agreed. “He didn’t care for the track,” said O’Neill. “He’s had a couple of good works since he came back.”
Gorman, who was a co-owner of 2007 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint and Eclipse Award winner Maryfield, also is co-owner of Scofield Barracks, a steady check-earner since he was claimed for $40,000 here in 2009.
“He needs a good pace to run at,” said Gorman. “He’s been a good horse for us. He tries every time.”
O’Neill likes his one-two punch in the Tiznow. “Quick Enough should be forwardly placed, and Scofield Barracks is a closer,” said O’Neill.
Quick Enough, another $40,000 claim, will make his first start since an eighth-place finish in the Al Quoz Sprint Stakes in Dubai on March 26.
“He ran good in Dubai; he only got beat by three lengths,” said O’Neill. “I’m not worried about the Dubai bounce. He’s had two good works since he’s come back.”
Dani Reese, a 5-year-old mare unbeaten in three starts on the main track here, will make her first start for O’Neill since being claimed for $40,000 in her last outing at Santa Anita on March 25. “She tries every time and she likes Hollywood,” said O’Neill.
The O’Neill entrants will have their work cut out in all of the races.
Six rivals in the 1 1/8-mile Snow Chief include stakes-placed Woodmans Luck and Burns, a two-time winner at one mile who worked a bullet four furlongs in 47.20 Wednesday for trainer Barry Abrams.
The Tiznow drew 12, including recent Potrero Grande Stakes winner Amazombie, multiple stakes winner All Saint and 2010 runner-up Bestdressed.
Multiple stakes winner Ultra Blend and Northern California invader Lady Railrider head a field of eight in the B. Thoughtful.
The fourth six-figure stake on the card, the $125,000 Melair for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles, drew a wide-open field of 10.
JERANIMO ON THE WARPATH FOR INGLEWOOD
Jeranimo, a fast-closing third in the Arcadia Handicap on the Santa Anita turf on April 9, will return in the $100,000 Inglewood Handicap Sunday, trainer Mike Pender said Wednesday. The Grade III Inglewood will be run at 1 1/16 miles on grass.
“He has proven in the past that he likes to come off a short break and he’s doing well,” said Pender of the 5-year-old Florida-bred horse.
Jeranimo showed his liking for the Hollywood Park lawn in his only start on the surface with an allowance win over the highly regarded Fluke at 1 1/16 miles last November before returning to capture the San Gabriel Stakes on the Santa Anita turf.
Jeranimo was assigned 120 pounds and will be ridden by Rafael Bejarano.
Trainer Jim Cassidy said from Santa Anita that he remained on the fence with The Usual Q.T., who was assigned 122.
“He worked here Tuesday and we’ll see how he is Thursday,” said Cassidy of the multiple stakes-winning millionaire, who finished second in the Sunshine Millions Turf in his last start at Santa Anita January 29.
“We had some foot issues we had to deal with,” explained Cassidy of the layoff. “I’m hesitating because I don’t know how fit he is.” The 5-year-old California-bred gelding has won two Grade I stakes and finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
Joel Rosario, who has been aboard Ryehill Dreamer in his last two wins, has taken a call on the 5-year-old gelding for Julio Canani under 115.
Trainer John Sadler said that Sidney’s Candy, the 123-pound high weight, would skip the race for a later spot, possibly the Mervyn LeRoy Handicap on Cushion Track May 7.
Sidney’s Candy, a graded stakes winner on turf, synthetic and dirt, has been sidelined since winning the Sir Beaufort Stakes at Santa Anita on December 26. “He had two little things at Santa Anita,” said Sadler. “The first was a quarter crack. Then he was a little off behind. It was small stuff. He just missed time. The Inglewood is coming up a little too quick. He will work six furlongs Sunday.”
CHANTAL SUTHERLAND STAYS FOR THE SUMMER
The Hollywood Park jockey colony for the Spring/Summer Meet will be graced for the first time by Chantal Sutherland, who has decided to test the year-round Southern California circuit instead of returning to her native Canada following the Santa Anita meet.
“She’s always wanted to stay,” said agent Brian Beach Wednesday. “Some events always led her back to Canada—that’s home. This year after winning the Big ’Cap, she decided to stay. She decided if she didn’t do it this year, she never would.”
Sutherland, 35, scored the biggest victory of her career aboard longshot Game On Dude in the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap in March.
“She’s leaving a lot of money on the table in Canada,” said Beach in reference to Sutherland’s career-high earnings of $8,778,038 last year, most of which came at Woodbine, where she led in stakes wins with 18. “That’s how much she wants to come here.”
Sutherland, who graduated from York University in Toronto with a major in psychology and mass communications, was named one of People magazine’s “100 Most Beautiful People” in 2006, has been featured in Sports Illustrated and Vogue magazines, signed as the new face for the Mistura Beauty product line and plays a part in “Luck,” a racing-based series scheduled to begin airing in the coming months on HBO.
“Off the track, she is well spoken and a good ambassador for the sport,” said Beach. “But she’s here to be a jockey first.”
Sutherland, who won 16 races at Santa Anita, has taken one call Thursday, two Friday and four Saturday.
Sutherland rode briefly at the end of previous Hollywood Park Autumn meets and recorded her first graded stakes victory aboard Mr. Rod in the 2008 Grade III Generous. One of her calls Friday night is in the sixth race aboard Forward Appeal for trainer Dan Hendricks and owner Cecil Peacock, the same connections who campaigned Mr. Rod.
KINSALE KING NEARS RETURN
World-class sprinter Kinsale King, scratched from defending his crown in the Golden Shaheen Stakes in Dubai because of illness in March, is close to a return to the races, trainer Carl O’Callaghan said Wednesday.
“He caught a bug and had bad blood in Dubai, but we regrouped,” said O’Callaghan. “He will work here this week, run in the Cool Frenchy Stakes May 7 and go back to Royal Ascot in England for the King’s Stand Stakes at five furlongs June 19.” The $70,000-added Cool Frenchy here is five furlongs on Cushion Track.
Kinsale King began a whirlwind year for O’Callaghan by winning the Grade III Vernon Underwood Stakes here in December, 2009, and Grade II Palos Verdes Handicap at Santa Anita in January, 2010, before winning the Golden Shaheen and finishing third at Royal Ascot in the Golden Jubilee Stakes.
O’Callaghan said he also plans to ship Leaving New York to Royal Ascot to run in the Golden Jubilee after he starts in the Tiznow Stakes here Saturday.
FINISH LINES—A new face in the trainer colony here is Robertino Diodoro , who has been allotted 18 stalls in Barn 63 South. Diodoro, a native of Western Canada, moved south for the Santa Anita meet and also oversees a division at Turf Paradise. He entered Irenes Jackpot, winner of the Scottsdale Handicap at Turf Paradise, in the Melair Stakes Saturday…New faces among jockey agents are John Valenzuela and Manuel Sanchez. Valenzuela, cousin of Patrick Valenzuela, is handling the book of Alex Jiminez. Valenzuela handled the books of Darrel McHargue and Don Pierce late in their careers before shifting to the parimutuel department in 1990. Sanchez, a veteran on the East Coast, has spent the last seven months in California with 25-year-old Luis Medina, who works many of the Bob Baffert horses…Trainer Ron Ellis reported that Vision In Gold, winner of the Santa Maria Stakes, came out of a third-place finish in the Santa Margarita Handicap in March with a chip in her left ankle that required surgery and will keep her out until the fall. Ellis also had Golden Itiz on the comeback trail with a half-mile work in 49.80.
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