Zenyatta galloped on the main track Wednesday as she readied for her final public appearance at Hollywood Park Sunday when she is honored by the track with Zenyatta Day.
“She’s all set,” said trainer John Shirreffs of the 5-year-old mare who concluded an unbeaten 14-race career with an electrifying win in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 7.
Shirreffs said the mare, who has been stabled here throughout her career, would gallop by the grandstand under regular exercise rider Steve Willard and go to the winner’s circle after the seventh race.
“I think it’s wonderful that Hollywood Park and TVG are willing to put out such an effort,” said Shirreffs. “I know the fans want to see her again. I really appreciate TVG presenting the DVDs.” Fans will receive free posters and DVDs of her races while supplies last.
Shirreffs said Team Zenyatta’s representatives will include himself, Willard, jockey Mike Smith, owners Jerry and Ann Moss, racing manager Dottie Ingordo-Shirreffs, groom Mario Espinoza and hot walker Carmen Zamora.
Zenyatta will be retired to the broodmare ranks next year.
Bronx native Jim Cassidy watched a trio of horses work three furlongs each on the Hollywood Park turf course from trackside Wednesday from under a trademark New York Yankees baseball cap.
Cassidy was still elated over his beloved team winning the World Series to start November and hopes to end the month on another positive note with the trio in the rich Turf Festival this weekend.
The triumvirate was headed by The Usual Q.T., who was timed in 35.80 seconds under exercise rider Lauren Dobson for the $300,000 Hollywood Derby Sunday.
The Usual Q.T., a California-bred 3-year-old gelding, seeks his fifth straight victory after a game score in the Oak Tree Derby on Nov. 7 by a head over Battle of Hastings.
“You might have expected him to go backward off his last race, it was such a strong race, but I think he has actually improved off it,” said Cassidy optimistically.
The son of Unusual Heat finished second in his first four starts and, following a fifth-place finish, has strung together four straight wins, improving with each start.
“The mile and a quarter is the question, but you wonder the same thing about some of the others,” said Cassidy of the horse’s first try beyond 1 1/8 miles in the Grade I Derby. Victor Espinoza has the call back.
“I claimed the mother for $20,000,” said Cassidy of Lunge, a daughter of Western Fame. “I won a race with her but she got sore. She turned out to be one helluva broodmare.”
April Pride, a 3-year-old filly, worked in a bullet 35.60 seconds under Jorge Alferez for the $300,000 Matriarch for fillies and mares at one mile Saturday.
The English-bred filly won the Harold Ramser Stakes at one mile on the Santa Anita turf Oct. 24 in her third start back following a five-month layoff. Cassidy hopes she is peaking at the right time.
“I took her back to Keeneland for the Edgewood last spring,” said Cassidy. “She was 9-5 and kicked the wall and I had to scratch her.” She did not return until August at Del Mar.
“She just needs an aggressive ride,” said Cassidy. “She’s never been one that doesn’t try.” David Flores has the call in the Grade I race from the rail in a field of seven. She is the only 3-year-old in the lineup.
Full Mandate, a new arrival in the Cassidy barn, worked in :37.20 under exercise rider Lindsey Molina for her United States debut in the $100,000 Miesque Stakes for 2-year-old fillies Sunday.
“I bought her at the Tattersalls Sale and have had her about five days,” said Cassidy of the Irish-bred filly who made four of her five starts in England.
Full Mandate broke her maiden in her second start at Newbury in July, finished second in the Group III Margaret Stakes at Ascot in July and finished second in the Goffs Million Sprint at The Curragh in September.
“In all of her races, she has been on the lead or close to it,” said Cassidy. “In her only bad race, the jockey tried to take her back and she got rank.” Mike Smith has the Miesque call.
Trainer Mike Mitchell hopes to unleash a formidable one-two punch in the $300,000 Citation Handicap, a Grade I test at 1 1/16 miles on grass that launches the three-day Turf Festival on Friday.
Ever a Friend will leave from post five under Joel Rosario and Monzante from post nine with Alex Solis in a field of 10.
“What you see is what you get,” said Mitchell. “Monzante comes from out of it. Ever a Friend likes to lay right off it.”
Ever a Friend, a 6-year-old gelding who won the 2008 Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita and finished second in the 2008 Shoemaker Mile here, returned from an 18-month layoff to win an allowance race on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita on Nov. 5.
Monzante, a 5-year-old gelding who won the 2008 Eddie Read Handicap at Del Mar and finished second in the 2008 Charlie Whittingham Handicap here, finished sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf , beaten 4 ½ lengths in his third start back following a year layoff.
“The Breeders’ Cup may have been too far and too tough for Monzante,” said Mitchell of the 1 ½-mile race. “Ever a Friend ran a nice race down the hill.”
Sal the Barber and Rescue Squad both galloped on the main track here Wednesday after arriving from New York Monday for the $300,000 Hollywood Derby Sunday.
Nicholas Bachalard, assistant to trainer Christophe Clement, said Sal the Barber would be ridden by Ramon Dominguez, who won the race last year aboard Court Vision. The Clement-trained Gio Ponti finished a troubled seventh in the same race.
Clement hopes to atone for that disappointment with Sal the Barber, who won the Grade III Calder Derby on the turf in his last start Oct. 17 for his third triumph in six outings.
Rescue Squad, trained by Shug McGaughey, finished second in the Berry Station Stakes at Keeneland in his last outing Oct. 18. The Hall of Fame trainer won the Derby in 2004 with Good Reward.
Al Khali was scheduled to arrive later Wednesday from Florida for Hall of Famer Bill Mott, who trained 2008 winner Court Vision. Al Khali won the Grade III Saranac Stakes in August at Saratoga, defeating a lineup that included Sal the Barber. Kent Desormeaux has the Derby call.
The trio is expected to be joined by Battle of Hastings (Garrett Gomez), The Usual Q.T. (Victor Espinoza), Take the Points (Edgar Prado), Sir Al (Joel Rosario), Black Bear Island (Joseph Talamo), Meteore (Rafael Bejarano), Blazing Spirit (Alex Solis) and Acclamation in the Grade I test at 1 ¼ miles.
Tuscan Evening worked a bullet four furlongs in 47 seconds on Cushion Track Tuesday for the $300,000 Matriarch, a Grade I test for fillies and mares at one mile on turf Saturday.
Tuscan Evening, winner of the Las Palmas Handicap at Santa Anita in her last start, will be ridden by Rafael Bejarano from post six in a field of seven.
Other entrants, from the rail out, are April Pride, Puttanesca, Diamondrella, Ventura, Rutherienne and Taste’s Sis.
Jules J, a 15-length winner in her turf debut at Golden Gate Fields on Oct. 30, will be shipped here for the $100,000 Miesque Stakes, a Grade III test for 2-year-old fillies at one mile on turf Sunday.
Frank Alvarado retains the call on the Action This Day filly for trainer and co-owner Bill Morey.
Other probable starters include European imports Full Mandate (Mike Smith) and In The Slips (Garrett Gomez), New York invader The Mailet (Joel Rosario), Camille C (Joseph Talamo) and Whispering Hush (Victor Espinoza).
FINISH LINES: European imports Ace of Aces and Coloursoftheglen drew posts two and four, respectively, in a field of eight in the $100,000 Generous Stakes, a Grade III test for 2-year-olds at one mile Saturday…*Scotty McClellan*, agent for 19-year-old jockey Joseph Talamo, was ecstatic over his five-win day Sunday that moved him into second place in the meet standings with ten winners, one behind Joel Rosario. “Unbelievable,” said McClellan of the quintet, which involved only one favorite. “Some days you think you have five or six mounts that have good chances and none of them win. This time I liked the favorite that won the last race and thought maybe we could win two on the day.”…*Lillie Langtry*, who finished eighth as the favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, will be flown to the Aidan O’Brien stable in Ireland Friday after recuperating here from surgery for a fractured knee suffered in that race…Life Is Sweet, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic, worked four furlongs in 50 seconds Wednesday…Schramsberg, a royally-bred 3-year-old colt by Storm Cat out of champion Serena’s Song, makes his debut Thursday in the sixth race at 1 1/16 miles on turf. Mike Smith rides the chestnut for trainer *Todd Pletcher*…Paul’s Hope is scheduled to make his next start in the $100,000 Vernon Underwood Stakes at six furlongs here Dec. 6 for trainer *Jerry Hollendorfer*…The traditional Hollywood Park Thanksgiving meals will be served in the stable kitchen Thursday, beginning at 10 a.m. The stable office will distribute tickets to licensed horsemen for the complimentary meals.
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