Gary Tanaka's Petit Poucet, a game second to Mecke in the Grade I Early Times Turf Classic at Churchill Downs May 4, will remain at Hollywood Park and run in Monday's $500,000 Hollywood Turf Handicap (Gr. I). Trainer Ben Cecil had planned to ship Petit Poucet to New York for the Grade I Early Times Manhattan on June 8, but instead will send Tanaka's Dernier Empereur to Belmont for the Early Times. "Well, to be honest, if Labeeb doesn't go (in the Turf Handicap) it's not as tough a race as it first looked," Cecil said. "We feel we have a decent chance to beat most of those horses. Plus, this will give Dernier Empereur another two weeks." As for Labeeb, trainer Neil Drysdale listed the Lear Fan colt as "possible" for the 10-furlong grass race. The Hollywood Derby winner has been wearing a protective patch that covers a quarter-crack, and Drysdale said Labeeb will work a half-mile Thursday before a decision is made whether to run. Highweighted Northern Spur, meanwhile, drilled six furlongs in 1:13 2/5 with Chris McCarron up on a fast main track for trainer Ron McAnally. Defending Turf Handicap champion Earl Of Barking worked six furlongs in1:13 2/5 on a fast main track at Santa Anita for trainer Richard Cross. Here are the probables for the 28th running of the $500,000 Hollywood Turf Handicap: Northern Spur, Chris McCarron, 123; Sandpit, Corey Nakatani, 120; Awad, Pat Day, 118; Petit Poucet, no rider, 116; Earl Of Barking, Gary Stevens, 116, and The Key Rainbow, Alex Solis, 113. Possible: Labeeb, Eddie Delahoussaye, 118, and Wavy Run, no rider, 114.
"I don't know if she's under that kind of pressure this time," joked Shirreffs. "But she'll have a different kind of pressure -- it looks like they're all showing up for this one." Among the fillies and mares expected: graded stakes winners Cat's Cradle, Jewel Princess, Urbane, Klassy Kim and Sleep Easy. Shirreffs said the horse to beat is Jewel Princess, who defeated Serena's Song in the Louisville Breeders' Cup Handicap in her most recent start. "I've seen (Jewel Princess) run some absolutely unbelievable races," Shirreffs said. "Her win over (505 Farms) Radu Cool in the Linda Vista (at Santa Anita) was phenomenal. And then she just beat Serena's Song . . . she's definitely the horse to beat." One shouldn't sell Borodislew short, though. After running too poorly to be true in her 1996 debut in the Las Flores Handicap, she bounced back with a big effort in the Santa Lucia. "She was able to sit right behind the speed and that's her best gameplan," Sherriffs said. "She gets very competitive when she's able to see a couple of horses in front of her."Borodislew (4F, :47 1/5), Jewel Princess (5F, 1:00 4/5) and Cat's Cradle (5F, 1:00 2/5) all completed their preparation for the Hawthorne at Hollywood Park Tuesday morning.
Early probables for the $100,000 Hawthorne Handicap, to be run Saturday at 1 1/16 miles on the main track: Jewel Princess, Chris McCarron, 120; Borodislew, Gary Stevens, 119; Urbane, no rider, 118; Cat's Cradle, Chris Antley, 117; Sleep Easy, Eddie Delahoussaye, 116; Klassy Kim, Rene Douglas, 115, and Above The Table, Brice Blanc, 110.
Afternoon Deelites worked a half-mile in :50 4/5 Tuesday and was scheduled to ship to New York Thursday in advance of Monday's $400,000- guaranteed Metropolitan Handicap. The Grade I Metropolitan will be simulcast at Hollywood Park . . . Trainer Paco Gonzalez said he planned to nominate Del Mar Dennis to the $250,000 Californian (Gr. I) on Sunday, June 2. Del Mar Dennis also is being considered for the $700,000 Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile (Gr. II) on Sunday, June 16 . . . The probable Shoemaker favorite, Fastness, worked three furlongs Wednesday in :37 2/5 with Corey Nakatani up. "It was just an easy half to take the edge off," said trainer Jenine Sahadi, who timed Fastness in :49 1/5 for four furlongs . . . Romarin worked five furlongs in a bullet :57 4/5 in a prep for the Shoemaker and another Richard Mandella-trained runner, Siphon, also bulleted, working six furlongs in 1:11 1/5 in a drill for the Californian . . . Trainer Wally Dollase sent Helmsman four furlongs in :47 2/5 in a prep for the Californian . . . Corker, 11th-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby, returned to the track Wednesday, working three furlongs in :36 3/5 for Charlie Whittingham . . . Trainer Howard Zucker celebrated his 48th birthday Monday . . . Trainer Ron Stevens turns 56 Thursday.
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