Shirreffs Sends Out Pair In Search Of American Oaks Repeat; Leading Trainer Baffert Enters Three In A Gleam Handicap

Racing News
Posted 07.13.11 at 3:23

Trainer John Shirreffs. Benoit Photo

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (July 13, 2011)—Trainer John Shirreffs will start a pair of 3-year-old fillies – Nereid and Star Billing – in search of a second consecutive win in the $250,000 American Oaks Saturday at Hollywood Park.

A Grade I at 1 ¼ miles on turf, the American Oaks is one of three stakes to be offered the next-to-last day of the Spring/Summer meet. The others are the $200,000 A Gleam Handicap, a Grade II for older fillies and mares at seven furlongs over Cushion Track and the $100,000 Landaluce for 2-year-old fillies at six furlongs.

The Landaluce is the fourth on the 10 race card, the American Oaks is the sixth and the A Gleam is the ninth.

There’s also a grab bag giveaway – one per paid admission while supplies last. Post time Saturday is 1 p.m. Track gates open at 10:30 a.m.

Shirreffs, who won the 2010 American Oaks with Harmonious, will try to become the second trainer to repeat in a race celebrating its 10th anniversary. Todd Pletcher went back-to-back with Wait a While (2006) and Panty Raid (2007).

Star Billing is the more accomplished of the Shirreffs duo. A daughter of Dynaformer and the Thunder Gulch mare Topliner, she’s won two of three, including the Grade III Senorita Stakes May 7, for owner-breeder George Krikorian. An earner of $122,400, Star Billing was second behind Sarah’s Secret in the Grade II Honeymoon Handicap June 11 in her sole defeat.

Owned by Eric Kronfeld, Nereid, like her stablemate, has won twice in three starts, but has not yet run in a graded race. The Rock Hard Ten filly out of the Belong to Me Mare Dowry has collected both victories over the Hollywood Park turf, winning versus maidens May 7, before taking a June 2 allowance.

A double graded stakes winner earlier in the year at Santa Anita, Cambina will be looking for her first victory in her third race over the Hollywood Park turf. Owned by a partnership and trained by Jeff Bonde, the Irish bred daughter of Hawk Wing and the Peintre Celebre Await was a head behind Star Billing when third in the Honeymoon. She’s won five of 11 while earning $270,426.

Bizzy Caroline arrives from Kentucky on a roll for owner-breeder Catesby Clay and trainer Ken McPeek. An Afleet Alex filly out of the Saint Ballado mare Sacre Coeur, Bizzy Caroline has won three in a row, including the Grade III Regret June 18 at Churchill Downs. She’s won half of her six lifetime starts and has a bankroll of $148,497.

Entrustment, a daughter of Forestry and the Private Account mare Entrusted, has won two of six and earned $70,320. Owned by Edward and Theresa DeNike and trained by Paddy Gallagher, Entrustment was fourth – defeated by one length – in the Honeymoon.

Love Theway Youare will be making her first appearance on grass for owner-trainer Myung Kwon Cho. The Arch filly out of the Tabasco Cat mare has won two of nine and earned $112,720.

From inside out, the field for the American Oaks: Entrustment, Alonso Quinonez rides, 121 pounds; Love Theway Youare, Victor Espinoza, 121; Nereid, Joe Talamo, 121; Cambina, Martin Garcia, 121; Star Billing, Joel Rosario, 121 and Bizzy Caroline, Rafael Bejarano, 121.

The A Gleam, which will be run for the 57th time, is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In’’ event. The Breeders’ Cup nominated winner of the race will earn a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs. Additionally, the winner of the A Gleam will have BC pre-entry and entry fees waived and receive a $10,000 travel allowance.

Ultra Blend, who won the Grade II Milady Handicap May 21 due to the disqualification of St Trinians, will cut back in distance Saturday.

Trained by Art Sherman for owner Nels Erickson, the 5-year-old Richly Blended mare out of the Desert Classic mare Ankha has won five of her last six. The Milady was the second stakes win of the Spring/Summer meet for the California bred mare. Ultra Blend had captured the B. Thoughtful California Gold Rush Day (April 23).

A winner of four consecutive races over Cushion Track, Ultra Blend has won 10 of 21 and earned $625,646.

Bob Baffert, the leading trainer at the Spring/Summer meet in terms of both wins (34) and stakes victories (seven), entered a trio in the A Gleam – American Story, Fund Raiser and Irish Gypsy.

Owned by Kaleem Shah, American Story shortens up after finishing last in the Grade I Vanity Handicap June 18. The 4-year-old daughter of Ghostzapper and the Meadowlake mare Holiday Runner has won three of seven, earning $189,200. This will be her first start around one turn since she won her debut at 6 ½ furlongs Aug. 6, 2010 at Del Mar.

A 5-year-old Harlan’s Holiday mare out of the Unreal Zeal mare Zealous Folia, Fund Raiser has won four of 14 and earned $217,059 for owner Arnold Zetcher.

Owned by Mike Pegram and John Sikura, Irish Gypsy comes off consecutive wins in the Valid Expectations May 30 at Lone Star Park and the Desert Stormer Handicap here June 19. The 5-year-old daughter of Hennessy and the Relaunch mare Rayelle has won five of 13 and banked $239,420.

Tanda will seek to end a four race losing streak in the A Gleam. Trained by Dan Hendricks for Tommy Hutton’s Dream Stable LLC, the 4-year-old Sweetsouthernsaint filly and the In Excess mare Doc’s Stormy Girl hasn’t won since taking the Grade III Railbird Stakes May 5, 2010. Like the A Gleam, the Railbird is run at seven furlongs over Cushion Track.

A Florida bred, Tanda has won four of 10 and banked $232,626.

Winless in five 2011 starts, Washington Bridge will be seeking her third stakes win at Hollywood Park for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who co-owns the 4-year-old with Mark DeDomenico LLC.

A daughter of Yankee Gentleman and the Prized mare Stirling Bridge, Washington Bridge has won five of 23 while earning $255,775. Her local stakes wins were the restricted Life Is Sweet Stakes last Nov. 12 and the Grade II Bayakoa Handicap 23 days later.

Winner of the Grade I Madison April 14 over the Polytrack at Keeneland, Shotgun Gulch will make her Hollywood Park debut for owner-breeder-trainer C.R. Trout. The 4-year-old daughter of Thunder Gulch and the Boston Harbor mare Rosieville has won seven of 18 and earned $488,309. Since arriving in Southern California, Shotgun Gulch has been stabled with trainer Bruce Jackson.

Trainer Brian Koriner, who won the 2010 A Gleam with Sweet August Moon, will try for a repeat with Church Camp.

Owned by Pete Parrella’s Legacy Ranch, Inc., Judith Carmel and Bill Strauss, Church Camp has won four of 10 while earning $146,420. She has been no better than fifth in three previous appearances in graded races.

If Church Camp wins, Koriner will become the third trainer in a row to win the A Gleam in successive years. Hollendorfer won with Somethinaboutlaura (2006-2007) and John Sadler repeated with Dearest Trickski (2008) and Evita Argentina (2009).

Mildly Offensive will make her first appearance over Cushion Track for owner Warren Williamson and trainer Carla Gaines. Fourth in the Manhattan Beach Stakes on turf June 18, the Sharp Humor filly out of the Personal Flag mare It’s Personal is 2-for-3 with a bankroll of $96,762.

If Mildly Offensive defeats her elders Saturday, she would become the fourth 3-year-old to win the A Gleam, joining Evita Argentina (2009), Honeymoon (1946) and Painted Veil (1941). The race was known as the Sequoia Handicap when Honeymoon and Painted Veil won.

From inside out, the field for the A Gleam: Church Camp, Alonso Quinonez rides, 114 pounds; Fund Raiser, Rafael Bejarano, 118; American Story, Joel Rosario, 115; Ultra Blend, David Flores, 119; Irish Gypsy, Martin Garcia, 120; Mildly Offensive, Chantal Sutherland, 112; Washington Bridge, Joe Talamo, 115; Tanda, Victor Espinoza, 117 and Shotgun Gulch, Mike Smith, 119.

Killer Graces, who won the Cinderella Stakes June 11 in her first start for Hollendorfer after being privately purchased, should benefit from the additional sixteenth of a mile in the Landaluce.

The Congaree filly out of the Old Trieste mare Heatherdoesntbluff is 1-for-2 with earnings of $53,530.

Trainer Peter Miller, who won the 2006 Landaluce with Pinata, will have two representatives – Woebegon and Stayclassysandiego – in 2011.

Owned by Mace and Samantha Siegel’s Jay Em Ess Stable, Woebegon was a gate-to-wire winner at nearly 14-1 in her June 26 debut. The daughter of Saint Anddan and the Montbrook mare Wonton earned $30,000 for the impressive score.

Claimed for $40,000 by Miller for owner Gary Barber out of a debut win June 10, Stayclassysandiego is a Rockport Harbor filly out of the Forest Wildcat mare Latin Lynx. She eaned $16,200 for the 4 ¼ length victory.

Mighty Caroline was another first out winner, prevailing by a head June 12. The gray daughter of Stormy Atlantic and the Maria’s Mon mare Mighty Renee banked $30,000 for owner-breeder John Liviakis and trainer Melody Conlon.

Son de America will make her initial start since winning her two furlong debut April 14 at Santa Anita. Owned by a partnership and trained by Marcelo Polanco, the Discreet Cat filly out of the Street Cry mare Elizabeth Street earned $15,000 for her victory in the $100,000 maiden claimer.

Chloe W was second in the Cinderella for Gem Inc. and trainer Eric Kruljac. The El Corredor filly out of the Lively One mare Fair and Lively earned $14,510 in her debut.

From inside out, the field for the Landaluce: Woebegon, Martin Pedroza rides, 117 pounds; Killer Graces, Joe Talamo, 120; Stayclassysandiego, Victor Espinoza, 117; Mighty Caroline, Joel Rosario, 117; Chloe W, Rafael Bejarano, 115 and Son de America, Tyler Baze, 117.

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