Thursday, May 16, 1996

By Vince Bruun

Hollywood Park gates open early -- at 9 a.m. Saturday -- as The Track of Lakes and Flowers simulcasts the Preakness Stakes and five other races from Pimlico Race Course. Mutuel windows open at 9:30 a.m. There will be no Early Bird wagering. Post time for the first race from Pimlico is 9:41 a.m., with the first live race at 1:05 p.m. The Preakness Stakes -- second jewel in thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown -- will be run between the second and third live races at approximately 2:31 p.m. Other post times follow: $200,000 Pimlico Distaff (Gr. III) 9:41 a.m. Woodbine -- first race 9:55 a.m. $75,000 William Donald Schaefer Handicap11:13 a.m. $50,000 Sir Barton Stakes 12 p.m. Golden Gate -- first race 12:30 p.m. $200,000 Maryland BC Handicap (Gr. III) 12:50 p.m. Hollywood Park -- first live race 1:05 p.m. $200,000 Early Times Dixie Handicap (Gr.II)1:41 p.m. $500,000 Preakness Stakes (Gr. I) 2:31 p.m. Advanced wagering for all of Saturday's Pimlico races will be available after 5 p.m. Friday. As for the Preakness, there will be win, place, show, exacta, trifecta and superfecta wagering offered. There is also a Pick Three involving the Maryland Breeders' Cup Handicap, Early Times Dixie Handicap and Preakness Stakes. All of the money wagered in California on the Preakness Stakes and other races from Pimlico Race Course will be commingled with the pools at the Maryland track, meaning payoffs in California will be the exact same as those at Pimlico. The field for the 121st Preakness Stakes (Gr. I) to be run at 1 3/16 miles on the main track with jockeys and odds: Allied Forces, Richard Migliore, 30-1; Cavonnier, Chris McCarron, 9-5; Victory Speech, Rene Douglas, 30-1; In Contention, Alex Solis, 20-1; Secreto de Estado, C. Velasquez, 50-1; Louis Quatorze, Pat Day, 8-1; Feather Box, John Velasquez, 50-1; Mixed Count, Edgar Prado, 20-1; Prince of Thieves, Jerry Bailey, 5-2; Editor's Note, Gary Stevens, 6-1; Skip Away, Shane Sellers, 6-1, and Tour's Big Red, Joe Bravo, 15-1.

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 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.).

Roy K. Monroe's Tejano Run, the runner-up to Thunder Gulch in the 1995 Kentucky Derby, has been added to the list of horses with sustaining payments made for the $1-million Hollywood Gold Cup (Gr. I) on Sunday, June 30. Tejano Run, a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Tejano Run, was inadvertently left off of the list last week. Tejano Run, trained Kenneth G. McPeek, has won five races and $759,290 in a 14-race carrer.

The addition of Tejano Run increases to 18 the number of horses with sustaining nominations to the Gold Cup.

Trainer Richard Mandella said he toyed with running Sandpit in next Wednesday's $70,000-added Grand Flotilla Handicap at 1 1/2 miles on the turf course. Alas, he decided against it, and will instead enter the 7-year-old in the $500,000 Hollywood Turf Handicap (Gr. I) on Monday, May 27.

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.

Hall of Famer Pat Day will ship in from Kentucky to ride multiple Grade I stakes winner Awad for trainer David Donk in the $500,000 Hollywood Turf Handicap on Monday, May 27. Most recently, Awad finished third to Raintrap and Windsharp in the $400,000 San Juan Capistrano Handicap April 21 at Santa Anita.

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.

Southern California probably has the best jockey colony in the nation, but one can hardly blame 23-year-old Victor Espinoza for moving his tack here. For the past few years Espinoza has ridden in the Bay Area with success. In fact, next to Russell Baze, he's been the No. 2 rider on the circuit. The problem with that, of course, is Baze consistently wins at a 30 percent clip, rides about 60 percent of the favorites on every card and probably considers anything less than three wins a bad day. And that's exactly why Espinoza is now at Hollywood Park. Nothing against Baze, but he got tired of playing second fiddle in the "Russell Show." "You just can't catch (Baze)," Espinoza said. "He gets all the good horses. So many times I'd come into the stretch thinking I was on the winner. My horse would be running good and have something left, and then (Baze) just comes cruising up to you under a hold." Espinoza isn't stupid. He knows things won't be any easier in Southern California; if anything, it'll be even more difficult to get live horses.

"(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."

Trainer Neil Drysdale drilled Danjur a half-mile Thursday in :50 1/5 on the turf and the Dayjur colt remains a possible starter in Sunday's $100,000-added Thirty Slews Handicap at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf course. As late as Wednesday, Drysdale seemed fairly certain he would ship Danjur to New York for Sunday's $75,000-added Jaipur Handicap (Gr. III) at Belmont Park.

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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