INGLEWOOD, Calif. (June 19, 2009) — Unbeaten Elusive Bluff will try to overcome an eight-month layoff under high weight of 118 pounds as he seeks his third victory Sunday in the $100,000 Cinema Handicap at Hollywood Park.
Elusive Bluff, sidelined by a minor injury prior to last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, broke his maiden at one mile on turf before winning the Grade III Pilgrim on a yielding turf course at Belmont Park in October.
Michael Baze, who rode the son of Elusive Quality in the Pilgrim, has the mount in the 1 1/8-mile Cinema, which has drawn a field of eight. The Grade III event lines up as follows from the rail out:
Massone, with Garrett Gomez up, will carry 116 pounds; Dover Street Art, Tyler Baze, 113; Flashmans Papers, Brice Blanc, 116; Elusive Bluff, Michael Baze, 118; Herr Mozart, Victor Espinoza, 114; Arden Park, Rafael Bejarano, 116; Oil Man, Joel Rosario, 115, and Arcodoro, Joseph Talamo, 109.
Elusive Bluff, owned by Southern Equine Stable and trained by Eric Guillot, has been training steadily at Hollywood Park for his Southern California debut. His connections also entered maiden Arcodoro, a son of Medaglia d’Oro who showed much improvement when finishing second after leading most of the way last outing in his turf debut.
While Elusive Bluff will be looking for his third straight win, Espinoza will be attempting to win the Cinema for the third consecutive year aboard Bob Baffert-trained Herr Mozart. He connected on Wordly in 2007 and Tiz West in 2008. Herr Mozart has been sharp on turf and enters following an allowance score.
Arden Park and Massone finished second and third, respectively, in the Alcatraz at 1 1/16 miles on turf in May at Golden Gate Fields. They were separated by a nose. Both get notable rider changes with two-time Eclipse Award winner Gomez taking the mount on Massone and Hollywood Park’s leading rider Bejarano getting the call on Arden Park.
Oil Man, seventh on a yielding course in the Transylvania at Keeneland, bounced back to score an allowance win on turf at nine furlongs; Flashmans Papers won the Eddie Logan in December and finished second in the Baldwin, while Irish-bred Dover Street Art seeks his first U.S. win.
The 63rd running of the Cinema Handicap will go as the ninth of ten races on Sunday’s program at Hollywood Park. First post is at 1 p.m.
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