INGLEWOOD, Calif. (June 24, 2010)-A Group 1 winner in both England and Australia, Scenic Blast will make his U.S. debut in the $60,000 Robert K. Kerlan Memorial Handicap on Sunday at Hollywood Park.
Owned by Aussie Raider and trained by John Shirreffs, the 6-year-old gelded son of Scenic out of the Delgado mare Daughter’s Charm will have six opponents in the ungraded race at six furlongs on turf. The Kerlan is the seventh of nine races on Sunday with post time at 1 p.m.
A winner of eight of 21 with earnings of $1,396,843, Scenic Blast hasn’t run since finishing last of 14 in the Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin last Dec. 13.
Bred in Australia by Durham Lodge Thoroughbred Stud, Scenic Blast’s last win came a little over one year ago. He captured the King’s Stand Stakes, a Group 1, at Ascot on June 16, 2009.
His other two Group 1 victories came in his homeland. On March 7 of last year, Scenic Blast won the Newmarket Handicap at the Kerlan distance by a head. Some five weeks earlier, he won the five furlong Lightning Stakes by one length.
Among those facing Scenic Blast, who will carry top weight of 123 pounds and be ridden by Mike Smith, is the filly Unzip Me.
A 4-year-old daughter of City Zip and the Arazi mare Escape With Me, she has won five consecutive races – all on turf – for Per Antonsen and breeders John Harris and Don Valpredo and trainer Marty Jones.
The California bred will be trying to become the second female to win the Kerlan. Cool Air, who was trained by Jones’ father Gary, won in 1994 when the race was called the Hollywood Park Budweiser Breeders’ Cup.
Three of Unzip Me’s wins during her streak have come in stakes. She won the Irish O’Brien, which is restricted to state breds, on March 20, followed by the Las Cienegas, a Grade III, on April 11 and the Great Lady M. on May 21.
The 1 ¼ length victory in the Great Lady M. was her second in three races on the Hollywood Park turf. She’s won seven of 12 and earned $327,430.
John Sadler, whose three wins in the race tops all trainers, will be represented by Noble Court. Sadler won the inaugural running with Olympic Prospect in 1988, then tallied with Frost Free (1990) and Get Funky (2008).
Owned by Joy Ride Racing, Noble Court, a 6-year-old Doneraile Court horse and the Grindstone mare Grey Dawn Grey, has been idle since finishing fifth in the Impressive Luck Handicap on Jan. 2 at Santa Anita.
A winner of six of 16 with earnings of $439,088, Noble Court will be looking for his second win in five tries on turf. He was second in the Captain Squire, beaten a neck by Zoning In, in his lone try on the Hollywood Park grass on June 29, 2007.
My Summer Slew will be looking for his second win of the meet at the Kerlan distance on Sunday. Owned by breeder Nick Cafarchia and trained by Craig Dollase, My Summer Slew has won four of 12 and banked $148,502.
The 5-year-old Siberian Summer gelding and the Slewpy mare My Bouquet won an optional claimer on May 2 in his debut on the local turf.
Trained by Victor Garcia for owner Miguel Rubio, Cayambe will be seeking his third consecutive win on grass since being claimed by his current connections.
Taken for $25,000 last July 31 at Del Mar, the 6-year-old Helmsman gelding out of the Restless Con mare Pacaya was away for nearly eight months before returning in a $25,000 claimer on April 18 at Santa Anita.
Cayambe won by a half-length at 30-1, then stepped up to win an optional claimer by 1 ¼ lengths at nearly 10-1 on May 27 at Hollywood Park. The Cal bred has won eight of 33 and earned $305,282.
Completing the field are Kelly Leak and Stoneside. Trained by Mike Machowsky for a partnership that includes Blahut Racing LLC and Dennis Avila, Kelly Leak has lost six in a row since capturing the Sunland Derby on March 29, 2009 at Sunland Park.
The 4-year-old Runaway Groom gelding out of the World Appeal mare Hasty Appeal has won three of 14, banking $739,310. He has a win and two seconds in five races on turf.
Stonside, a 6-year-old Marchand de Sable gelding and the Green Desert mare Greenstone has won five of 28 and earned $413,276.
Trained by Julio Canani for owner Marsha Naify, Stoneside was second behind Cost Of Freedom in an optional claimer on Cushion Track in his last start on May 6.
From the inside out, the field for the 22nd Robert K. Kerlan Memorial Handicap: My Summer Slew, Alonso Quinonez rides, 117 pounds; Cayambe, Martin Garcia, 114; Stoneside, Martin Pedroza, 117; Noble Court, Joel Rosario, 119; Kelly Leak, Rafael Bejarano, 116; Scenic Blast, Mike Smith, 123 and Unzip Me, Joe Talamo, 116.
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