Dozen to Test Stamina Friday in 12-Panel Hollywood Turf Cup
Oscar Dominguez © Benoit Photo
A wide-open edition of the $200,000 Hollywood Turf Cup – a handicapping delight for those who like the challenge of a well-matched and highly competitive field – will be the day-after treat this Friday at Del Mar as a dozen turfers will ramble a mile and one-half in the seventh local running of the Grade II offering.
The marathon will go as Race 7 on the nine-race Thanksgiving Friday card. Though 14 horses have been named to run, only 12 will go due to safety considerations. The two also-eligibles will get a chance if there is a scratch in the main body of the field.
A trio of out-of-towners add special spice to the handicapping stew – Donegal Racing, Bulger and Coneway’s Arklow, Manfred Ostermann’s Laccario and Agave Racing Stable or Sam-Son Farm’s Say the Word. They’ll all be making their Del Mar debuts.
The race also has drawn its defending champion – Messineo or Sands’ Oscar Dominguez, who rallied through the lane to win by a neck over turf star United in last year’s running. It additionally has lured back a pair of runners who have been there before – Mr. & Mrs. Larry Williams’ Ward ‘n Jerry, third in the Turf Cup last year, and Little Red Feather and Tavares’ Marckie’s Water, fourth in the 2018 edition of the race.
Here’s the lineup for the feature from the rail out with riders and morning line odds: Messino and Sands’ North County Guy (Mario Gutierrez, 15-1); Oscar Dominguez (Irad Ortiz, Jr., 15-1); Little Red Feather, Jacobsen or Belmonte’s Red King (Umberto Rispoli, 5-1); Say the Word (Flavien Prat, 5-1); Arklow (Joel Rosario, 5/2); Old Bones Racing Stable, Slam Dunk Racing or Nentwig’s Gregorian Chant (Ricky Gonzalez, 20-1); The Ellwood Johnston Trust, Timmy Time Racing or Tevelde’s Acclimate (Tyler Baze, 12-1); Laccario (Manny Franco, 3-1); Ward ‘n Jerry (Jose Valdiva, Jr., 20-1); Benowitz Family Trust, Madaket Stables or Mathiesen’s Proud Pedro (Juan Hernandez, 20-1); Marckie’s Water (Tiago Pereira, 30-1), and Team Block’s Another Mystery (Mike Smith, 10-1). The two also-eligibles are Red Baron’s Barn or Rancho Temescal’s Tartini (Baze on a second call, 30-1) and CYBT, Nentwig or Weiner’s Fivestar Lynch (Abel Cedillo, 30-1).
If you look in the money-won column, it is “no contest” in this one with the 6-year-old Arch horse Arklow the biggest of the big dogs. The bay named for an Irish seaside town about 35 miles south of Dublin has banked $2,546,116 in his stellar career so far and shows seven wins and seven seconds from 30 starts. Twenty-four of those starts have been in stakes races, including outings in the last three runnings of the Breeders’ Cup Turf. This will be the 12th different racetrack where the stretch runner has performed and the 11th time he’s run a mile and one half. He’s trained by Brad Cox, currently the second-leading trainer in the country with more than $17 million in purses this year.
Say the Word, a 5-year-old Canadian-bred gelding by More Than Ready, comes into the race off a smart win in the Grade I Northern Dancer Stakes at Woodbine on October 18. A winner of five races and $445,292 in purses, the stretch runner has been shifted to the barn of trainer Phil D’Amato for his West Coast debut.
Say the Word is one of four horses D’Amato has entered in the marathon. The others are Red King, winner of the Del Mar Handicap here on August 22; Gregorian Chant, a 4-year-old gelding looking for his first stakes win, and Acclimate, a 6-year-old gelding making his first start since running in the Breeders’ Cup Turf in 2019 at Santa Anita.
Loccario is a German-bred 4-year-old colt who ran in his homeland up until an allowance start at Belmont Park on October 3. He was a Group I winner overseas and now takes his training from H. Graham Motion.
First post for the Friday card is 12:30 p.m.