“She’s ready to run,” said trainer John Shirreffs from his stable office in Barn 55 South Thursday after unbeaten champion Zenyatta galloped on the main track in preparation for the $300,000 Vanity Handicap Saturday.
The 5-year-old mare will gallop again Friday morning before accepting a career-high weight assignment of 129 pounds in defending her title in the Grade I Vanity for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on Cushion Track.
Zenyatta drew the outside post in a field of eight in the Vanity, which will go as the fourth race on the program. She will seek her 11th straight victory under regular rider Mike Smith.
Zenyatta carried 124 pounds when she won the Vanity last year and opened her 2009 campaign on May 23 here with a victory in the Milady Handicap under 126.
The last horse to win the Vanity with as high an assignment was champion Cascapedia, who carried 129 in 1977. Gamely won under 131 in 1968, and Silver Spoon won under 130 in 1960.
Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey said Thursday from Belmont Park that Parading will be flown to California Monday to run in the $700,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 11.
“Getting back on the synthetic is the big thing, and running in a big race like the Hollywood Gold Cup will be fun,” explained McGaughey of the decision to ship the 6-year-old horse west for the Grade I test at 1 ¼ miles on Cushion Track.
Parading, a Phipps Stable homebred by Pulpit, seeks his third straight stakes victory after capturing the Grade III Ben Ali at Keeneland in his first start on a synthetic surface in April and the Grade II Dixie on the Pimlico turf May 16.
The chestnut has won seven of 17 starts and earned $405,046. He will be ridden back by Kent Desormeaux.
Parading will be accompanied on the flight by assistant Jennifer Patterson and Conservative, who will run in the $300,000 Swaps Stakes for 3-year-olds on July 18. He finished second in the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland in April.
McGaughey is also debating whether to add Pick Six to the flight for the $150,000 American Handicap on turf July 4. McGaughey nominated the 5-year-old son of Dynaformer following a second-place finish in an allowance race on the Belmont turf June 17.
“The weather here has been atrocious,” said McGaughey. “We’ve had so much rain the last two months we haven’t been able to train. I’ll decide before the plane leaves Monday morning.”
Fillies from Europe, New Zealand and the East are scheduled to arrive at Hollywood Park during the next few days for the $700,000 American Oaks July 5. The Grade I test is for 3-year-old fillies at 1 ¼ miles on turf.
Racing secretary Martin Panza said that Dermot Weld-trained Rare Ransom from Ireland and Henry Cecil-trained Apple Charlotte from England are expected to be flown here this weekend. He also expects Puttanesca, trained by Wayne Hillis in New Zealand, to arrive here during that time.
Assistant racing secretary and stakes co-ordinator Dan Eidson added that four invitees based in the East would be flown here Monday. They are the Thomas Albertrani-trained Gozzip Girl from New York, the Ken McPeek-trained The Best Day Ever from Kentucky, the Michael Matz-trained Magical Affair from Maryland, and the Tim Hamm-trained Afternoon Stroll from Pennsylvania.
The invaders are expected to face locally-based Well Monied (Joel Rosario), Mrs Kipling (David Flores), Acting Lady (Rafael Bejarano), Lexlenos (Alex Solis) and Third Dawn (Garrett Gomez).
Trainer Craig Dollase was seeking an added invitation for Nan.
Street Magician, a triple stakes winner in the East, will be shipped to Hollywood Park Monday for the $300,000 Triple Bend Handicap, a Grade I test at seven furlongs on Cushion Track July 5.
Rafael Bejarano has taken a call on the 5-year-old horse, based at Laurel Park in Maryland with trainer Michael Trombetta. Bejarano was aboard Street Magician when he broke his maiden at Gulfstream Park in February, 2007, and when he won his first two stakes: the Aventura at Gulfstream in March, 2007, and the Hirsch Jacobs at Pimlico in May, 2007.
Street Magician won his last two starts following an 11-month layoff, most recently capturing the Boyes Memorial at Presque Isle Downs in Pennsylvania on June 7.
Also scheduled to ship in is defending champion Rebellion, based at Keeneland with trainer H. Graham Motion. National earnings leader Julien Leparoux has the call.
While Zenyatta and Rebellion are ready to defend in two Grade I stakes here, trainer John Sadler will make his own case for the defense in two Grade II turf events. He will send out Black Mamba in the $150,000 Beverly Hills Handicap Sunday and Whatsthescript in the $150,000 American Handicap on July 4th.
Oilgonewile, a recent addition to the Mike Mitchell stable, will make her California debut in the $100,000 Flawlessly Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at one mile on turf July 3.
The Florida-bred daughter of Montbrook scored three firsts and three seconds in 12 starts in Florida before joining the Mitchell stable in May. Joseph Talamo has the Flawlessly call.
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