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EAST COAST GRADED-STAKES WINNER MR. BLUEBIRD SHIPS TODAY FOR SUNDAY’S $500,000 TURF CUP
Mr. Bluebird, riding a three-race winning streak, ships from New York today for Sunday’s $500,000 Hollywood Turf Cup (Gr. I).
“He’s coming up to the race very well,” trainer John Kimmel said.
Mr. Bluebird, a 5-year-old son of Crafty Prospector, most recently won the Red Smith Handicap (Gr. II) at Aqueduct on Nov. 23. Prior to that, the bay gelding captured the Grade III Knickerbocker Handicap. The Kentucky-bred has seven wins from 15 starts for earnings of $320,480.
“I was thrilled with his performance in the Red Smith,” Kimmel said. “Mike Smith gave him a perfect ride.”
Smith will fly in from the East Coast to ride Mr. Bluebird.
In other Hollywood Turf Cup developments:
Raintrap breezed seven furlongs in 1:28 2/5 on Monday.
Hollywood Turf Handicap winner Talloires worked seven furlongs over the turf Monday 1:31 4/5.
Mister Alleged breezed five furlongs in 1:03 2/5 Monday at Santa Anita.
Probables for the $500,000 Hollywood Turf Cup (Gr. I), to be run at 1 1/2 miles over the grass: Admise, David Flores; Bon Point, Gary Stevens; Marlin, Corey Nakatani; Mister Alleged, Brice Blanc; Mr. Bluebird, Smith; Party Season, Julio Garcia; Raintrap, Alex Solis; Running Flame, Chris McCarron; Talloires, Kent Desormeaux, and Windsharp, Eddie Delahoussaye.
Possible: Wings Bash, no rider.
HIGH HEELED HOPE IN HOLLYWOOD STARLET
Maker’s Mark winner High Heeled Hope puts her three-race winning streak on the line in Saturday’s $150,000-added Hollywood Starlet (Gr. I).
“She’s ready to roll,” trainer Randy Bradshaw said Wednesday. “She breezed four furlongs in :47 and change the day before yesterday. I just hope the weather stays good and we don’t catch an off-track.”
The brown filly has never run on an off-track. She’s won four of seven races and $148,107. The Starlet will be her first start beyond seven furlongs.
“Nobody knows if she can go two turns or not,” Bradshaw said. “But I waited and saved her for this very important race because sprinters usually run two turns for the first time very well. So I’ve waited to stretch her until now.”
The daughter of talented sprinter Salt Lake will be ridden by Alex Solis, who guided the filly to her victory in the Maker’s Mark.
“I think if she runs her race and gets two turns, she’ll be very tough to beat,” Bradshaw added.
In other Hollywood Starlet developments:
D. Wayne Lukas, who supervised a half-mile move Monday by City Band (50 1/5), likes his chances in the Starlet. “Sharp Cat and City Band make a potent one-two combo,” he said. “They’re obviously gonna be tough to reckon with.”
The probable field for the $150,000-added Hollywood Starlet, to be run at 1 1/16 miles: City Band, Gary Stevens; Sharp Cat, Corey Nakatani; Critical Factor, no rider; Wealthy, Chris McCarron; High Heeled Hope, Solis; Queen of Money, David Flores; Worth Every Cent, no rider.
Possible: Dove Shells, no rider; CC Loves Diamonds, no rider.
LUKAS SADDLES TWO IN HOLLYWOOD FUTURITY
D. Wayne Lukas, who has won the Hollywood Futurity three times, saddles Leestown and Mellifont in Sunday’s 16th running.
Leestown, a brown son of Seattle Slew, has campaigned in the Midwest this year. Most recently, the Kentucky-bred finished fourth in the Kentucky Jockey Club (Gr. III) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 30.
“He’s been a consistent performer out in Kentucky and Illinois,” Lukas said. “He’s going to have to bring it up a level for this race.”
Leestown has won two of 10 starts for earnings of $105,719.
Lukas’ other charge, Mellifont, has been lightly raced and has never gone longer than six furlongs in a race. The chestnut colt is coming off a ninth-place finish in the Grade II Sapling on Aug. 17 at Monmouth Park.
“Mellifont didn’t seem to care for the track at Monmouth,” Lukas said. “Mellifont might be overlooked at first, but he’s been training so strong since we shipped him back here, we expect him to step up and put in a solid effort.”
In other Hollywood Futurity developments:
Leestown worked a half-mile in :53 on Monday at Santa Anita.
Probable Futurity favorite In Excessive Bull worked six furlongs in 1:11 4/5 on Monday at Santa Anita.
Probables for the $250,000-added Hollywood Futurity, to be run at 1 1/16 miles: In Excessive Bull, Corey Nakatani; Stolen Gold, Chris McCarron; Constant Demand, Eddie Delahoussaye; Robynhood, no rider; Swiss Yodeler, Alex Solis; Leestown, Gary Stevens or Julio Garcia; Mellifont, Stevens or Garcia; Flew the City, no rider; Steel Ruhlr, Laffit Pincay Jr.; Free House, Kent Desormeaux; Higher With Fire, Rene Douglas, and Master Marshal, no rider.
REAL CONNECTION GETS REAL IN DAHLIA
Real Connection tries to rebound from a ninth-place Matriarch finish in Sunday’s $100,000-added Dahlia Handicap.
“She seems to be coming up fine,” trainer Mel Stute said. “We haven’t been able to get her out on the main track for a couple of days, though. But she was going good up until then.”
The 5-year-old gray mare won the Osunitas Handicap at Del Mar on Aug. 24 and was runner-up in both the Las Palmas (Gr. II) and the Yellow Ribbon (Gr. I) at Santa Anita. The Kentucky-bred has six wins, nine seconds, five thirds and a bankroll of $659,032 in 44 starts.
“I like her chances against the Dahlia field,” Stute said.
Stute said Two Ninety Jones remains probable for the Dahlia.
In other Dahlia developments:
Sixieme Sens worked seven furlongs in 1:26 4/5 on Monday.
Zoonaqua breezed five furlongs in 1:00 Monday.
Wende worked seven furlongs in 1:25 3/5 Monday.
The probable field for the $100,000-added Dahlia Handicap, to be run at 1 1/16 miles on turf: Antespend, Chris McCarron, 119; De Puntillas, Kent Desormeaux, 116; Grafin, Corey Black, 116; Real Connection, Goncalino Almeida, 115; Miss Lady Bug, Alex Solis, 115; Sixieme Sens, Corey Nakatani, 115; Radu Cool, Gary Stevens, 115; Two Ninety Jones, no rider, 115; Logia, no rider, 113; Zoonaqua, no rider, 112, and Xianlang, no rider, 110. Possible: Donna Viola, no rider; Princess Kali, no rider; Wende, no rider, and Wheatly Special, no rider.
PLAY IN THE SNOW DEC. 21 AT HOLLYWOOD PARK
Children of all ages can enjoy snow in Southern California when Hollywood Park hosts its annual Snow Day on Saturday, Dec. 21, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the North Park.
The event features more than 100 tons of snow spread over the North Park, including a giant snow mountain, which kids can sled down.
Every child 12 years old and under will receive a free bottle of jellybeans and a coloring book, while supplies last.
Santa Claus and Hollywood Park mascot Captain Hoof will be available for photos and will also be giving out candy.
Snow Day is free to all children 12 years old and under and to any adult accompanied by a child.
Enter Hollywood Park’s parking lot through Gate 2 off Prairie Avenue, just north of Century Boulevard. Go through the gate at the North Battery and go up Tunnel Five to the North Park.
FINISH LINES: Trainer Wally Dollase said he is pointing Alyrob at the $300,000 San Fernando Stakes at Santa Anita on Jan. 11. He will probably run him once more before then. Alyrob last finished third in the Lazaro S. Barrera on Nov. 17 . . . Dramatic Gold, pointing for the Dec. 22 Native Diver, worked six furlongs in 1:13 3/5 on Monday.
The Running Horse (http://www.isd1.com/)