Later Saturday evening, there will also be simulcast wagering in the Hollywood Park Casino of racing from Cal Expo (5:30 p.m.), Los Alamitos (6 p.m.) and Hong Kong (10:15 p.m.).
EARLY BIRD HOURS EXTENDED TO INCLUDE PIMLICO SIMULCASTS
Early Bird wagering hours will be extended until 2:30 p.m. Friday to accommodate the simulcasts of the $100,000 Gallorette Handicap (Gr. III) and $200,000 Black-Eyed Susan (Gr. II) from Pimlico Race Course and the entire card from Canada's Woodbine. The program is available in the Hollywood Park Casino only, with mutuel windows opening at 7:30 a.m. The races from Woodbine begin at 9:55 a.m., with the Gallorette set for 1:10 p.m. and the Black-Eyed Susan at 2:12 p.m. Advance wagering for the two simulcast races from Pimlico will be available after 12 p.m. Thursday. Friday's first live race is at 7 p.m., with gates opening at 5 p.m. Besides the live action, there will be simulcast wagering on Cal Expo (beginning at 5:30 p.m.), Golden Gate (6 p.m.) and Los Alamitos (6 p.m.).
The addition of Tejano Run increases to 18 the number of horses with sustaining nominations to the Gold Cup.
The idea of running Sandpit in the Grand Flotilla shouldn't be taken as an indicator that the Brazilian-bred has lost a step.
"A big goal for this horse is the Atlantic City race (the $500,000 Caesars International on June 22) and the Caesars Palace Turf Championship (at Hollywood on July 21)," Mandella said.
In other words, the trainer reasoned that a tough race in the Turf Handicap against the likes of Northern Spur, Labeeb and Awad might not be the ideal way to prepare Sandpit for the two "Caesars" events -- and a run at the $280,000 bonus that goes to any horse sweeping those races.
And finishing second to Earl Of Barking in last year's Turf Handicap didn't seem to bother Sandpit any. He went on to sweep the Caesars Series and the $312,000 bonus.
"We can't get too carried away with his future plans," Mandella said Thursday. "He's getting too old for that. We'll just take him race by race. And besides, he's doing really well right now."
Sandpit popped a splint following an eighth place finish in last year's Japan Cup. After a five-month hiatus he finished second in his combacker, the Grade III Fort Harrod at Keeneland, and Mandella hopes to have him near 100 percent for the Turf Handicap.
Chris McCarron, who rode Awad in the San Juan Capistrano, is scheduled to ride Northern Spur in the Turf Handicap. Northern Spur worked on the turf Thursday, drilling five furlongs in 1:02 3/5 around the dogs for trainer Ron McAnally. Early probables for the 28th running of the Hollywood Turf Handicap, to be decided at 1 1/4 miles on the turf course: Earl Of Barking, no rider; Awad, Pat Day; Sandpit, Corey Nakatani; Northern Spur, Chris McCarron; Labeeb, Eddie Delahoussaye, and Wavy Run, no rider.
"(But) I want to ride right here for a long time," he said. "I like it here and I hope I do well."
Espinoza has a deserved reputation as a strong finisher, and added he's at home on any type of horse.
"Whatever kind of horse, speed or closer, it doesn't matter," he said. "Just as long as I can win some races."
Thursday, however, the trainer was reportedly again considering the Thirty Slews for Danjur.
Danjur, three-for-three lifetime, raced most recently in the $88,000 Churchill Downs Turf Sprint, setting a five-furlong track record of :56 while winning by two lengths. Probables for the ninth running of the Thirty Slews to be run Sunday at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf course: Cyrano Storme, Rene Douglas, 119; Boulderdash Bay, Chris McCarron, 118; Concept Win, Gary Stevens,118; Cominalittlehot, Corey Nakatani, 117; Daggett Peak, Martin Pedroza, 115; Score Quick, no rider, 115; O'Martin, no rider, 115, and High Charger, Alex Solis, 113.
Possible: Danjur, Eddie Delahoussaye, 117, and Gundaghia, Martin Pedroza, 114.
FINISH LINES: Jerry Dutton said Starry Ice appeared to have emerged from her 6 1/2-length triumph in Wednesday's Nursery Stakes in good order and said he has reason to belive the Ice Age filly will route. "I've trained a lot of Ice Age's over the years and some of them have been able to get a distance," Dutton said. "This filly acts like she she will too. I'm anxious to give her a shot." . . . San Felipe Stakes winner Odyle has begun tack-walking at Eskay Creek in Bradbury and trainer Paco Gonzalez said the Alleged colt will be x-rayed in two weeks. Odyle had heat in an ankle during the week leading up to the Santa Anita Derby, and although x-rays were negative, the colt was given some time off . . . Buckland Farm's Pleasant Tango continued his comeback May 8 at Churchill Downs with a two-length victory in a $50,000 allowance race for non-winners of three lifetime. Shane Sellers was up for trainer Chris Speckert . . . Emerald Downs, the new Seattle-area track which opens June 20, was scheduled to open its main track Thursday for training . . . David Flores drew a five-day suspension (May 18, 19, 22, 23 & 24) for crossing over without sufficient clearance down the back stretch while astride Ptimero Del Anno in Monday's fifth race.
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