INGLEWOOD, Calif. (December 19, 2013)— Aotearoa will cut back in distance and return to a synthetic surface in the $200,000 King Glorious Stakes Sunday at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Named for the winner of the 1988 Hollywood Futurity, the King Glorious is for 2-year-olds bred or sired in California and will be run at seven furlongs over Cushion Track on the final day of racing at the legendary facility.
Part of the Golden State Series, the King Glorious is the 10th of 11 races on the final day of the last Autumn meet. Post time is 12:30 p.m. and track gates will open at 9:55 a.m. for simulcasts.
Prior to the start of the races, Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg will sign copies of his book “Jack: From Grit to Glory’’ at the Betfair Hollywood Park Gift Shop. The signing is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m.
Commemorative pins honoring the Sunset Handicap will also be given away – one per paid admission while supplies last – on closing day.
Hall of Fame trainer Whittingham and owner Mary Jones Bradley enjoyed much success together over the years, including a 1973 victory by Cougar II in the Sunset.
A Grade I winner on turf and dirt, the Chilean bred’s one-length win over Life Cycle more than 40 years ago was the sixth of a record 13 Sunset victories for Hall of Fame jockey Bill Shoemaker.
There will also be drawings for gift cards and other special prizes throughout the day.
In addition to the King Glorious, the card includes a pair of $50,000 starter allowance races – the Valley Lass and Auld Lang Syne.
The Valley Lass, which is for fillies and mares and will be run at one mile on turf, is named in honor of the first horse to win a race at Hollywood Park. A 2-year-old California bred filly, Valley Lass took the opener June 10, 1938 as the 13-10 favorite under jockey Silvio Coucci. It will be the third race Sunday.
The Auld Lang Syne, which will be run at 1 1/16 miles on turf, will serve as Sunday’s finale, climaxing 75 years of racing history and memories at the venue known as both the Home of Champions and the Track of the Lakes and Flowers.
Owned by breeder Paul Viskovich and trained by Leonard Powell, Aotearoa will make his first appearance over Cushion Track after finishing second behind Global View in the Grade III Generous Stakes on turf Nov. 30.
The gelded son of Good Journey and the Lil Tyler mare Madera Royal has won twice in five starts and earned $134,000. He broke his maiden by 4 ¾ lengths in his debut over the Polytrack at Del Mar Aug. 4.
Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who began the final three days of the season with a chance to set an Autumn meet record for most stakes wins by a trainer, will send out a pair – Life Is a Joy and Pray Hard – in the King Glorious.
Life Is a Joy comes off a pair of fifth-place finishes in two-turn races – the Golden Gate Juvenile Nov. 1 at Santa Anita and the Real Quiet Stakes Nov. 23 at BHP – after winning his first three races in Northern California, including the Charlie Palmer Futurity Oct. 5 at Fresno.
Owned by Hollendorfer, his wife Janet and George Todaro, the Globalize gelding out of the Indian Charlie mare Tadita has banked $93,330.
Owned by breeders Debi and Tom Stull’s Tommy Town Thoroughbreds, Pray Hard comes off a 5 ¼ length maiden win Nov. 30. The Kafwain gelding and the Songandaprayer mare Unbridled Prayer has earned $62,100 in five starts. He’s been worse than second once.
Mass Transit defeated 11 maidens – including runner-up Pray Hard – in his Cushion Track debut Nov. 9 for trainer Peter Miller and a partnership that includes Blinkers On Racing Stable, Roncelli Family Trust and Dent Roney.
The son of City Zip and the General Meeting mare Young Ladies Day has earnd $27,250 in two starts.
Better Bet is also back to sprinting after trailing in the Real Quiet for trainer Mike Harrington, who also owns and bred the Southern Image colt. Out of the Swiss Yodeler mare Short Sentence, Better Bet has won twice in 10 races and has earnings of $190,380.
Harrington will also send out Alpine Luck for owner-breeder Heinz Steinmann. The Lucky J.H. colt out of the Swiss Yodeler mare I Can Yodele has won two of eight and banked $162,284. Both of his victories have come in four starts over Cushion Track.
California Chrome returns to the scene of his first victory (May 17) for owner-breeders Steve Coburn and Martin Perry and trainer Art Sherman after finishing sixth in the Golden State Juvenile.
The son of Lucky Pulpit and the Not for Love mare Love the Chase has won two of six and earned $104,850.
Smoove It is the lone filly in the lineup. Owned and bred by J. Paul Reddam’s Reddam Racing LLC, the daughter of Square Eddie and the Distorted Humor mare Smoove has one win in five starts and a bankroll of $58,510 for trainer Doug O’Neill.
Ghost of Harrenhal has been idle since winning a $50,000 maiden claimer at one mile Oct. 24 at Santa Anita.
Trained by Derek Meredith for a partnership that includes his wife Helen, Mark Mandala, Mike Peterson and Joseph Schneider, the Singletary colt out of the Free House mare Special Smoke has earned $19,620 in two races.
Tizouttasight was fourth of five in a $32,000 claimer Dec. 5. Owned by J K Racing LLC and trained by Craig Dollase, the Tiz Wonderful colt out of the Alydeed mare Alyceptional has won two of five and earned $41,610.
Convoy is a maiden making his Southern California debut for trainer Gloria Haley, who owns the Siberian Summer colt with co-breeder Rhianon Farms, Inc.
Out of the Saratoga Six mare Sweet Femme, Convoy has earned $7,125 in four races at Golden Gate Fields. He comes off his best effort – a third-place finish at 49-1 Nov. 30.
From inside out, the field for the 2nd King Glorious Stakes: Smoove It, Mario Gutierrez rides, 114 pounds; Pray Hard, Rafael Bejarano, 117; Ghost of Harrenhal, Kayla Stra, 115; Mass Transit, Joe Talamo, 117; Alpine Luck, Alberto Delgado, 121; Tizouttasight, Alex Bisono, 115; Convoy, Martin Garcia, 115; California Chrome, Victor Espinoza, 119; Aotearoa, Corey Nakatani, 121; Better Bet, Martin Pedroza, 121 and Life Is a Joy, Edwin Maldonado, 119.
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