Tough Assignment As Midships Aims For Third Straight Win In Saturday’s Charles Whittingham Handicap At Hollypark

Racing News
Posted 06.04.09 at 11:34

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (June 4, 2009) — Midships will be aiming for his third straight victory and first Grade I victory in Saturday’s $300,000 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap at Hollywood Park.

The 1 ¼-mile Whittingham anchors a ten-race program at Hollywood Park on Belmont Day which also includes the $100,000 Ack Ack Handicap and the $70,000 Redondo Beach.

Hollywood Park gates will open at 8 a.m. to accommodate the simulcast of the entire 13-race card from Belmont Park. The first import is at 8:35 a.m. with the Belmont Stakes scheduled for 3:27 p.m. First live post is at 12 noon.

Juddmonte Farms’ Midships, a son of Mizzen Mast, won the San Luis Rey in March and the San Juan Capistrano Handicap in April. The 4-year-old gray/roan colt will be making his fifth North American start in the Whittingham. He finished third while making his U.S. debut in the 2009 Hollywood Derby. He has won four of 14 starts for earnings of $345,830.

A third consecutive win will have to come at the expense of defending Whittingham champion Artiste Royal and recent Inglewood Handicap winner Madeo in the six-horse field, which lines up as follows from the rail out:

Union Avenue, with Rafael Bejarano up, will carry 114 pounds; Midships, Victor Espinoza, 118; Liquidity, Tyler Baze, 112; Globetrotter, Joe Talamo, 113; Madeo, Mike Smith, 119, and Artiste Royal, Joel Rosario, 118.

Madeo, also a son of Mizzen Mast, has won two of four 2009 starts, the latest win coming in the 1 1/16-mile Inglewood Handicap here in April. He has won five of 13 starts overall for earnings of $463,715.

Artiste Royal, third in the San Luis Rey in his most recent start, won the San Marcos at the Whitttingham distance in January. Winner of the Clement L. Hirsch at 1 ¼ miles in 2007, he rallied to beat Monzante and Lava Man by a neck in the 2008 Whittingham. The 8-year-old enters Saturday’s 41st running with seven wins in 30 starts for earnings of $895,790.

Union Avenue scored his biggest win in the 2006 American Derby at Arlington Park; Liquidity makes his turf debut, and Globetrotter enters following a victory at nine furlongs on turf at Santa Anita in April.

Joe Hernandez winner Noble Court and Tiznow winner Liberian Freighter are the co-high weights in an 11-horse field for the Grade III, 7 ½-furlong Ack Ack, which lines up as follows:

Noble Court, Rosario, 120; Luhuk’s Dancer, Espinoza, 110; Mutak Gold, Aaron Gryder, 115; Davos, Tyler Baze, 113; Prussian, Smith, 115; Doppio, Alex Solis, 115; Paul’s Hope, Talamo, 115; Rush With Thunder, Alonso Quinonez, 109; Sierra Sunset, Martin Garcia, 119; Liberian Freighter, Bejarano, 120, and Star Nicholas, Michael Baze, 116.

The trio of Hollywood Park stakes begins with a field of nine fillies and mares in the Redondo Beach at one mile on turf:

Dawn After Dawn, Rosario, 121; Miss Singhix, Solis, 119; Charming Legacy, Talamo, 119; Gorgeous Goose, Corey Nakatani, 123; Gotta Hava Her, Tyler Baze, 119; Bahama Mama, Smith, 119; Tuscan Evening, Bejarano, 119; Briecat, Garcia, 121, and Bootleg Annie, Espinoza, 123.

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