INGLEWOOD, Calif. (Sept. 26, 2010)—The first Oak Tree at Hollywood Park meet begins Thursday night. Post time is 7:05 p.m.
The main event on the nine race card is the $100,000 Sen. Ken Maddy Handicap.
A Grade III for older fillies and mares, the Maddy will be contested at six furlongs on turf. The previous 42 runnings have been at about 6 ½ furlongs, but the course configuration at Hollywood Park necessitated the distance change.
At the conclusion of the races – approximately 11 p.m. – a concert starring Sugar Ray will begin at the North Park Lawn. Beer is $3 until 9 p.m. and hot dogs are $2 all evening.
After the seventh race – and this will be the case for all concert nights during the meet – there will be a drawing for a free iPad. Players must be at Hollywood Park to win.
The Maddy is the first of 13 graded stakes during a 22-day season that continues through Oct. 31.
Seven of the stakes are Grade 1’s. Six of those will be run the first weekend of the season. Eight of the graded events – including all four on Oct. 2 – are Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In’’ races. The winner automatically qualifies for the corresponding divisional race in the Breeders’ Cup that will be run Nov. 5-6 at Churchill Downs.
The most anticipated of the four Grade 1’s on Saturday is the $250,000 Lady’s Secret Stakes Presented by TVG. The 1 1/16 mile race over Cushion Track will be the final Southern California start for the undefeated Zenyatta.
Owned by Jerry and Ann Moss and trained by John Shirreffs, the 6-year-old Street Cry will be seeking her 19th win and her third in a row in the Lady’s Secret.
Stabled at Hollywood Park throughout her career, Zenyatta has won seven times at her home track. The Lady’s Secret will be her final start before she attempts to defend her title in the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 6.
The other Grade I races on Oct. 2, which features a Zenyatta baseball cap giveaway to each paid admission while supplies last, are the $250,000 Norfolk Stakes for 2-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on Cushion Track, the $250,000 Goodwood Stakes for older horses at 1 1/8 miles on Cushion and the $250,000 Yellow Ribbon Stakes for older fillies and mares at 1 ¼ miles on turf.
Two more Grade 1’s follow Oct. 3. Older horses will get together in the $250,000 Clement L. Hirsch Turf Championship, Presented by TVG, at 1 ¼ miles on turf and 2-year-old fillies meet in the $250,000 Oak Leaf Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on Cushion Track.
The final Grade I of the season is the $250,000 Ancient Title Stakes – for older horses at six furlongs on Cushion Track – on Oct. 9.
Another traditional highlight of Oak Tree is the California Cup.
A series of stakes races restricted to California breds, the Cal Cup will be held for the 21st time on Oct. 30.
The program features seven stakes worth $700,000, topped by the $150,000 Cal Cup Classic for older horses at 1 1/8 miles on Cushion Track.
Racing will be conducted on a Thursday-Sunday basis for four of the five weeks during the meet. The lone exception is a six day week beginning Oct. 6 and continuing through Columbus Day (Monday, Oct. 11).
In addition to Thursday, there will be night racing on five other occasions (Oct. 8, Oct. 21, Oct. 22, Oct. 28 and Oct. 29). Evening post times are 7:05 p.m. All other days are 1 p.m.
The popular Pick 4 – which is offered on both the first four and the last four races daily – is now a 50 cent minimum wager.
Trainer Marty Jones will send out a pair of California breds as he shoots for his first win in the opening night feature. The Maddy will go as the eighth race.
Unzip Me and Dotsy Jean, who have combined for seven wins over the Hollywood Park turf course, are among nine scheduled to compete.
Owned by AJM Racing LLC and JBK Stable, Dotsy Jean, a 5-year-old daughter of Lit de Justice mare out of the Pentelicus mare Grandjean, has won five times locally at the Maddy distance.
Claimed for $16,000 by her current connections on Jan. 19, 2009, Dotsy Jean has since won seven of 15. Overall, she is 10-for-32 with earnings of $330,418.
A two time grass winner at Hollywood Park, Unzip Me, who is owned by Per Antonsen and breeders John Harris and Don Valpredo, is making her first start since capturing the Royal North, a Grade III, on Aug. 2 at Woodbine. The 4-year-old City Zip filly out of the Carson City mare Escape With Me has won eight of 14 while earning $424,513.
Rafael Bejarano, the two-time defending Oak Tree riding champion, will be aboard Unzip Me, who will carry top weight of 124 pounds.
Alpha Kitten, second as the favorite in the Rancho Bernardo Handicap on Aug. 22 at Del Mar, will be making her initial start on turf.
Owned by breeders Jerry and Ann Moss and trained by John Sadler, the 4-year-old Tale of the Cat filly and the Unbridled’s Song mare Alpha Mama has won two of eight with a bankroll of $227,010.
Her most significant win came in the 2009 Santa Ynez, a Grade II, at Santa Anita. Sadler is seeking his third win in the Maddy. He won back-to-back with Belleski (2003-04).
Trainer Craig Dollase, who won this race in 2007 with Dancing Edie, will send out Bonifacio.
A 4-year-old daughter of Even the Score and the Southern Halo mare Contessa Halo, Bonifacio won the second time in three starts on turf in the Daisycutter Handicap on Aug. 13 at Del Mar.
Dismissed at 20-1 in the field of seven, Bonifacio rallied from last to win by a nose over Pasar Silbano. Owned by Bruce Chandler and Decourcy Graham, Jr, Bonifacio has four victories in seven attempts. She has banked $129,874.
Trained by Sadler for Team Valor International and Gary Barber, Minute Limit has yet to win in four starts on the local turf. In her most recent appearance here, the 4-year-old Irish bred daughter of Pivotal and the Kingmambo mare was second, losing by a nose to Dotsy Jean, in the Culver City Stakes on July 2. She has three wins in 15 starts and has earned $143,953.
Fourth in the Daisycutter, Reba Is Tops was a winner the last time she ran on turf at Hollywood Park. The 6-year-old He’s Tops mare out of the Present Value mare Miss Kyama won an optional claimer on Nov. 20, 2009.
First or second in seven of 10 on grass, Reba Is Tops has won 10 of 23 overall while banking $297,309. She is owned by a partnership that includes Gordy Jarnig and Kenny Marshall and is trained by Mark Glatt.
Owned by J. Paul Reddam and trained by Ben Cecil, Waveline will be looking for her second win as a 5-year-old in her third start of 2010.
The daughter of Stravinsky and the Boston Harbor mare Teresa Anna won an optional claimer on July 22 at Del Mar in her return to racing before finishing fifth in the Daisycutter.
A winner in her only previous race on the Hollywood Park turf, Waveline has five wins in 17 tries, earning $294,158.
Completing the field are Czechers, who has won five of 22 for Glatt and owners Allen and Susan Branch and Terrify, who has won two in a row at the Maddy distance on the Hollywood Park grass for part owner and trainer Steve Knapp.
From the inside out, the Maddy lineup: Alpha Kitten, Joel Rosario rides, 117 pounds; Minute Limit, Victor Espinoza, 118; Unzip Me, Rafael Bejarano, 124; Reba Is Tops, Joe Talamo, 119; Bonifacio, Alonso Quinonez, 118; Dotsy Jean, Mike Smith, 121; Terrify, Brice Blanc, 115; Czechers, Patrick Valenzuela, 117 and Waveline, Corey Nakatani, 117.
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