TWENTY LATE NOMINATIONS ADDED TO $2.15-MILLION TURF FESTIVAL
Twenty late nominations, highlighted by the addition of Memories of Silver, Hollywood Dream and Real Connection to the $700,000 Matriarch (Gr. I), have been added to Hollywood Park's sixth annual Turf Festival. The three-day festival, consisting of six stakes worth $2.15-million, takes place Friday to Sunday, Nov. 29-Dec. 1.
Memories of Silver, a Grade I-winning 3-year-old filly trained by James Toner, was supplemented to the Dec. 1 classic along with Hollywood Dream and Real Connection at a cost of $30,000 each.
Sharing the spotlight on Dec. 1 will be the $500,000 Crown Royal Hollywood Derby (Gr. I). The connections of four 3-year-olds put up $17,500 each: Le Triton, a Group 1 winner in France now trained by Bill Mott, Astor Place, Lago and Take A Left.
There were eight late nominations of $10,000 each to the $200,000 Generous Stakes (Gr. III) for 2-year-olds: Falkenham, fifth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (Gr. I), Bagshot, Churchland, Daylight In Dubai, Demolition Man, Hello, Serotonin and Steel Ruhlr.
The $200,000 Miesque Stakes (Gr. III) brought three $10,000 late nominations: Montecito, trained by D. Wayne Lukas; Pun, and Cal Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Rexy Sexy.
The lone supplemental entry in the $200,000 Hollywood Turf Express (Gr. III) was Track Gal, trained by John Sadler, who was entered at a cost of $10,000.
THE $700,000 MATRIARCH -- THE RACE FOR THE ECLIPSE
MEMORIES OF SILVER'S TONER THINKS MATRIARCH IS "RACE OF THE YEAR"
Trainer James Toner, who is scheduled to saddle Grade I winner Memories of Silver in the $700,000 Matriarch on Dec. 1, thinks the prestigious 1 1/4-mile race for fillies and mares has a chance to be the "best race of the year."
"It certainly looks like the toughest race of the year," Toner, 56, said via telephone from his home in Valley Stream, New York on Thursday morning. "It's a wide-open affair with multiple Grade I winners in the race."
Joan and John Phillips' Memories of Silver, a 3-year-old daughter of Silver Hawk, is expected to tackle the likes of Timarida, Windsharp and Wandesta -- among others -- in The Matriarch on Dec. 1, final day of Hollywood Park's sixth annual $2.15-million Turf Festival.
"Whoever wins this race deserves to be the Eclipse Award winner," Toner said. "The Matriarch has what the Breeders' Cup is lacking. There should be a turf race (in the Breeders' Cup) for fillies and mares. In the Matriarch, we have an international field of horses -- the best fillies and mares in the world -- running in this race on the first of December. This is clearly what the Breeders' Cup is supposed to have. . .but I'm sure glad that Hollywood Park is having it."
Memories of Silver finished a respectable fifth against males in the Breeders' Cup Mile at Woodbine, her last start on Oct. 26. Previously, the Kentucky-bred filly rallied to win the Queen Elizabeth II Cup (Gr. I) at Keeneland in stakes record time of 1:45 4/5 for the 1 1/8 miles on turf.
"Naturally, people would think Timarida is the horse to beat in this race, but it's not like I think she stands out over the field," Toner said. "This is a very competitive field from top to bottom. Whoever wins this race will get the trip. With a big field like this, the trip is always a concern -- you've got to be lucky."
Memories of Silver, who is scheduled to arrive at Hollywood Park on Wednesday, will be ridden by eastern-based jockey Robbie Davis in The Matriarch.
"Jerry Bailey was supposed to ride her but has a previous commitment to ride in Japan," Toner said. "He might have been able to make it back in time, but I didn't want to take the chance so we've named Robbie Davis to ride. Robbie rode her to victory in the Queen Elizabeth, so it's not like he doesn't know her."
DE PUNTILLAS TAKES CLASS LEAP FOR MATRIARCH
Trainer Bob Hess Jr. knows he's sending De Puntillas to the wolves in the $700,000 Matriarch (Gr. I) on Dec. 1.
"Obviously it's a mega-leap in class," Hess said. "But my horse is fit and ready to run."
Making her U.S. debut, De Puntillas stormed down the lane to win a $60,000 allowance race at Santa Anita by a head over Matriarch hopeful Olimpia Dukakis.
"Her last race was very impressive," Hess said. "She came home in ten-and-one or ten-and-two (seconds). And I think a mile-and-a-quarter will suit her even more."
De Puntillas is a recent import from Italy, where she won seven of 19 starts and banked 378,000,000 Italian lire. Her Italian earnings convert to more than $200,000. Overall she has won eight of 22 for earnings of $263,228.
In a championship-caliber contest bringing together ten Grade I winners, she will be only one of four distaffers without a Grade I win on her resume. Olimpia Dukakis, and the second and third place finishers in the Yellow Ribbon (Gr. I), Real Connection and Dixie Pearl, are the other two.
"Realistically, it's a very, very tough race," Hess said. "She would have to run the race of her life. But she's fresh, and most of the others have been going all year, so if it's ever going to happen, it will be now."
In other developments:
Trainer Ron McAnally said Different will not run in the Matriarch.
Trainer Ben Cecil reported Donna Viola pulled a muscle, which will cause her to miss ten days of training, and keep her out of The Matriarch field.
Probables for the 16th running of the $700,000 Matriarch, for fillies and mares at 1 1/4 miles over the turf: Admise, Alpride, Auriette, Bail Out Becky, De Puntillas, Dixie Pearl, Duda, Hollywood Dream (s), Memories Of Silver (s), Olimpia Dukakis, Real Connection (s), Timarida, Wandesta, Windsharp.
KINGDOM FOUND GOES IN ON TRUST HANDICAP
Kingdom Found, who hasn't won since he bested Breeders' Cup Sprint (Gr. I) winner Lit de Justice in the San Carlos Handicap (Gr. II) this spring, will try to get back in the winner's circle in Sunday's $100,000-added On Trust Handicap.
"He ran a big race but came up a little bit short," Becerra said of his fifth-place finish in the Cal Cup Sprint, his first race since June. "I knew going in he was a little short -- he was about seven to ten days away. But I talked to the owners and we decided to take a chance."
Although fifth in the Cal Cup, the son of The Bart was only three-quarters of a length behind the winner Testimony, who he will face again Sunday.
Kingdom Found will also try to better his sixth-place finish as the $2.30-1 favorite in last year's On Trust.
"He's doing real good right now," Becerra said. "I think the extra distance will be a little better for him."
Probables for Sunday's $100,000-added On Trust Handicap, to be run at seven furlongs for California-breds three and up: Creston, Eddie Delahoussaye; Kern Ridge, Rene Douglas; Kingdom Found, Kent Desormeaux; Klassy Kim, no rider; Letthebighossroll, Gary Stevens; Testimony, Alex Solis; Tres Paraiso, no rider; Flying Sensation, Laffit Pincay Jr., and Uncaged Fury, no rider.
Possible: Cat's Cradle, no rider.
ELMHURST HEADED TO FLYING CONTINENTAL, BARRING OFF-TRACK
After taking 34 starts to break his non-winners of two condition, Elmhurst came right back and won a non-winners of three on Oct.18 at Santa Anita. Now the 6-year-old could be one of the favorites in Saturday's $65,000-added Flying Continental.
"Winning was definitely a big confidence builder for him," trainer Jenine Sahadi said. "But it's been a combination of things. He's a gelding now, and he's been just a little bit more professional this year. And he's been really happy."
The son of Wild Again has won four and nine seconds from 34 starts.
"We're hoping the weather clears up," Sahadi said. "He doesn't really care for an off track. But as long as the track is okay, he'll probably run."
Post positions from the rail out for the $65,000-added Flying Continental, for 3-year-olds and up, at 1 1/16 miles on the main track: Cezind, Alex Solis, 115; Meadow Blaze, Rene Douglas, 114; Nancys French Fry, Kent Desormeaux, 113; Elmhurst, Gary Stevens, 116, and Tom Cruiser, Julio Garcia, 115.
MANDELLA HAS A GENTLEMEN FOR CITATION
Foreign runners often run big off the plane and have their performance tail off as they adjust to their new environment, but Gentlemen has done just the opposite. The 4-year-old colt could start as one of the choices in the $300,000 Citation Handicap (Gr. II).
"His last two races have been very good," trainer Richard Mandella said.
The Argentine-bred dropped his first U.S. start, but rebounded in his last two. He wired an allowance field at Del Mar that included Dernier Empereur and Pinfloron, and took the Bay Meadows Handicap (Gr. III) in similar fashion.
"He hasn't raced since Sept. 21 simply because there wasn't anything in the middle," Mandella said.
Gentlemen follows in the footsteps of Sandpit and Romarin, other highly-regarded Argentine-runners who found success in the Mandella barn.
"We try to take them down and start over," Mandella said. "That's the best luck I've had with them. Our winter is their summer, and their whole cycle gets turned upside down. It's my experience that it's best they're not in heavy training when they go through the adjustment."
FINISH LINES: Due to overnight and morning rains, Hollywood Park was closed for workouts on Thursday. There were only 12 recorded workouts at Santa Anita . . . Trainer David Hofmans said Dramatic Gold will make his next start in the $100,000 Native Diver (Gr. III) on closing day, Dec. 22 . . .
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