Thursday, July 18, 1996

By Mark Midland


Sandpit heads an outstanding cast of turf runners entered for Sunday's $700,000 Caesars Palace Turf Championship (Gr. II) at Hollywood Park. For the second year in a row the Brazilian-bred can earn the Caesars Palace Las Vegas and Caesars World Atlantic City bonus for sweeping the $500,000 Caesars International and the Caesars Palace Turf Championship.

ESPN will nationally televise Sunday's $700,000 Caesars Palace Turf Championship from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. (PDT). The 1 1/2-mile turf endurance event will be run as the fourth live race, with an approximate post time of 1:40 p.m.

There will be a special noon post time on Super Sunday. There will be no early bird wagering, as gates open at 9:30 a.m.

Sandpit, a 7-year-old chestnut horse trained by Richard Mandella, galloped to a 1 3/4-length victory in the Caesars International at Atlantic City Race Course on June 22, and is listed as the 7-5 favorite in the 1 1/2-mile Caesars Palace Turf Championship, headliner on Hollywood Park's $1.7-million Super Sunday card.

The coast-to-coast sweep of the two races is good for a $280,000 bonus and a total paycheck of $1 million. Last year, Sandpit earned $750,000 for sweeping the same series.

Post positions from the rail out for the Caesars Palace Turf Championship, to be run Sunday, July 21 at 1 1/2 miles on the turf: Lassigny, Jerry Bailey, 116, 6-1; Awad, Chris McCarron, 117, 5-1; Talloires, Kent Desormeaux, 116, 20-1; Windsharp, Eddie Delahoussaye, 116, 3-1; Special Price, Rene Douglas, 116, 6-1; Time Star, Corey Black, 115, 8-1, and Sandpit, Corey Nakatani, 125, 7-5.

Excerpts from the post position draw breakfast:

$700,000 Caesars Palace Turf Championship (Gr. II)

$250,000 Vanity Handicap (Gr. I)

Trainer D. Wayne Lukas ships in 3-year-old champion filly Serena's Song for Sunday's $250,000 Vanity Handicap (Gr. I), and wants to remind all who is the champion and the challenger.

"Twice The Vice is taking on Serena's Song, not the other way around," Lukas pointed out. "One horse is a champion, the other is not. If that's not the case, then we should be the one getting the weight."

Serena's Song has split two decisions with Twice The Vice, but lost to Jewel Princess in their only meeting in the May 3 Louisville Breeders' Cup Handicap (Gr. II).

"This is a very, very, tough race," he said. "We have the utmost respect for Jewel Princess. We have respect for the entire field."

The Vanity will likely be the final meeting of Serena's Song and Twice The Vice before the Oct. 28 Breeders' Cup.

"It's like in the NBA Championship with a best-of-seven, and this is the first game," Lukas said. "The first game is important, but it doesn't assure you anything."

Serena's Song has banked $2,758,348 in her 31 race career, and currently ranks as the seventh all-time money winning female. A victory on Sunday would place her fifth on the all-time list, right behind Paseana and just ahead of Bayakoa.

"Everytime Serena's Song has met Twice The Vice, she's given away considerable weight," Lukas said. "This is the first time the weights bring us closer together."

Serena's Song spotted Twice The Vice six pounds (124-118) when she defeated her rival in the Mar. 10 Santa Maria Handicap (Gr. I), and gave away seven pounds (124-117) when Twice The Vice turned the tables on her in the Apr. 12 Apple Blossom (Gr. I). The Lukas filly will concede three pounds (125-122) to Twice The Vice on Sunday.

"Serena's Song didn't handle the mud when Twice The Vice beat her in the Apple Blossom," Lukas explained. "All of her bad races have come over off tracks."

Borodislew reeled off four consecutive stakes victories last summer, but has yet to regain her top form of 1995. She had a two-race win streak snapped with a fifth-place finish in the Milady, and will look to return to the winner's circle when she squares off against Serena's Song, Twice The Vice and Jewel Princess in Sunday's $250,000 Vanity Handicap.

"Last time she had a real tough time down on the inside," trainer John Shirreffs said. "Eddie got stuck down there and couldn't get out. She got real rank when he tried to get a hold of her."

Delahoussaye will be aboard the 6-year-old Seattle Slew mare who drew post position two for Sunday's contest.

"We've stood her in the gate a lot since the Milady," Shirreffs said. "She broke real fast (in the Milady), and once she gets the jump on the rider, it's pretty tough to get a hold of her. So we've been walking her out of the gate to get her to slow down."

Shirreffs has a plan for Delahoussaye to get the perfect trip this time.

"Hopefully, we can follow Twice The Vice all the way around," he said. "She'll get us pretty close to the wire at some point."

Post positions from the rail out for the 55th running of the Vanity Handicap, to be run Sunday, July 21 at 1 1/8 miles: Airistar, Brice Blanc, 109, 30-1; Borodislew, Eddie Delahoussaye, 117, 10-1; Jewel Princess, Corey Nakatani, 120, 5-2; Top Rung, David Flores, 115, 10-1; Real Connection, Goncalino Almeida, 112, 30-1; Twice The Vice, Chris McCarron, 122, 9-5, and Serena's Song, Jerry Bailey, 125, 8-5.

Trainer D. Wayne Lukas holds a strong hand in Sunday's $500,000 Swaps, with 8-5 morning line favorite Victory Speech, and 2-1 second choice Prince Of Thieves.

Prince Of Thieves finished third in the Kentucky Derby, but was given a rest after a seventh-place finish in the Preakness (Gr. I) and fifth in the Belmont Stakes (Gr. I).

"After they go through the Triple Crown, you need to give them a break," Lukas said. "Prince of Thieves will be the first one we bring back. So we gave him a rest by design."

Victory Speech ran evenly in the classics, finishing tenth in the Kentucky Derby and fifth in the Preakness. He has since rebounded with a strong second to Skip Away in the Ohio Derby (Gr. II) and a 5 1/2-length victory in the Dwyer (Gr. II) on July 6.

"Victory Speech probably needed the experience he gained in the Triple Crown," Lukas said. "But now he's doing very well and we thought he fit this spot very well."

Post positions from the rail out for the 23rd running of the Swaps (Gr. II), to be run Sunday, July 21 at 1 1/8 miles: Semoran, Chris McCarron, 120, 5-1; Slews Royal Son, Brice Blanc, 114, 10-1; Victory Speech, Jerry Bailey, 118, 8-5; Prince Of Thieves, Alex Solis, 118, 2-1, and Hesabull, Eddie Delahoussaye, 118, 5-2.

With a perfect three-for-three record, Swiss Yodeler has dominated his competition at Hollywood Park, leaving little mystery to his ranking on the West Coast. The main question in Sunday's $100,000 Hollywood Juvenile Championship (Gr. II) will be how Swiss Yodeler matches up against Kentucky shipper Prairie Junction.

The Mt. Livermore colt enters off a pair of seconds for trainer D. Wayne Lukas in the May 27 Kentucky Breeders' Cup and the June 29 Bashford Manor (Gr. III).

"He had a little bit of trouble in his last, but was good enough to run second," Lukas said. "We're sending his stablemate that beat him, Boston Harbor, up to the Sanford (Gr. III) at Saratoga, so we thought this would be a good spot for him."

Prairie Junction will break from post position six under Jerry Bailey in Sunday's contest.

"Whether he will match up against the horses out here, it's hard to measure," Lukas said. "But he has a good closing kick to him."

In other developments:

Smokin Mel worked three furlongs in :35 4/5 Thursday morning.

Post positions from the rail out for the 57th running of the Hollywood Juvenile Championship, to be run Sunday, July 21 at six furlongs: Vermilion, Laffit Pincay Jr., 115, 8-1; Smokin Mel, Omar Berrio, 117, 20-1; Swiss Yodeler, Alex Solis, 120, 1-1; Over Houston, David Flores, 117, 10-1; Red, Rene Douglas, 117, 10-1, and Prairie Junction, Jerry Bailey, 117, 7-5.

Fans attending Hollywood Park on Closing Day -- Monday, July 22 -- will receive free general admission and a chance to win a 1996 Ford Mustang GT.

Other prize giveaways on Fan Appreciation Day include Toshiba color TVs and VCRs, weekend getaways to Las Vegas, Dodger baseball tickets, a mountain bike, Hollywood clubhouse credentials for future meetings and much more.

The closing day feature is the $65,000-added Exbourne for older horses at a mile on turf. First post is 1 p.m.

Saturday Hollywood Park will feature two simulcasts, the $150,000 River Downs Breeders' Cup set for 1:24 p.m. and the $300,000 DeFrancis Dash from Laurel, set for 2:36 p.m.

Local runner Score Quick, trained by Mel Stute and second in the June 30 Triple Bend Handicap (Gr. III), goes to post in the DeFrancis Dash. Rene Douglas is scheduled to ride.



Notable Distinctions



Bon Point

Bo Derek H, Grand Flotilla H at meeting 1st,

The Bien Bien

Polish Admiral

$66,500 Jim Murray H on June 22 1st,

The Bien Bien

Cat's Cradle

Acorn (Gr. I), Fantasy (Gr. II) in 1995; 8th,

Fran's Valentine S

Tabled With Saros

$100,000 Valkyr June 29 8th,

Fran's Valentine S



nine-time Grade I winner of $2,439,301 4th,

Caesars Palace Turf


San Luis Rey (Gr. I), San Luis Obispo (Gr. II), 4th,

Caesars Palace Turf 2nd in San Juan Capistrano (Gr. I) in last 3

Serena's Song

earned $2,758,348; 7th all-time distaffer

Vanity H (Gr. I)

Twice The Vice

winner of 3 straight Grade I races

Vanity H (Gr. I)

Prince Of Thieves

3rd in Kentucky Derby, won Santa Catalina S

Swaps Stakes (Gr. II)

Victory Speech

Dwyer (Gr. II) in last, 2nd Ohio Derby (Gr. II)

Swaps Stakes (Gr. II)


Affirmed H (Gr. III) in last, took 4 of last 5

Swaps Stakes (Gr. II)

Swiss Yodeler

undefeated winner of Haggin S, Westchester S

Holly Juv Champ (Gr. II)

FINISH LINES: Jockey Goncalino Almeida rode Quite Good (7th, $21.60) to victory Wednesday for his first win since Jan. 18. Almeida, who broke both legs in a spill on Jan. 20, returned to the races June 13 . . . Lit De Justice worked six furlongs in 1:12 1/5 over the turf in preparation for the Bing Crosby (Gr. III) . . . Sleep Easy drilled seven furlongs in 1:25 4/5 . . . South American import Riton worked a mile over the turf in 1:38 2/5 Thursday morning, but will not make the July 22 Exbourne Handicap. Assistant trainer Gary Mandella said he grabbed a quarter and will be set back about a week.

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