So when Hollywood Park closed back in 2013, it was a no-brainer that one of the races Del Mar would adopt on fall dates would be the Hollywood Turf Cup. They even kept the name the same, especially because it fits so well with the showbiz theme of Bing Crosby’s season.
Since the title change, the Hollywood Turf Cup remains a coveted award for some of horse racing’s best marathon runners. The tradition continues on Fridays at Del Mar as the field of seven formations for the 41stStreet 1 1/2 mile run class 2.
The race appears to be wide open as some horses are stepping up into graded stakes for the first time, while others are trying to establish their affiliation at this level. Del Mar’s current leading trainer, Phil D’Amato, brings two of his horses to the dance. The Irish-bred Prince Abama will go off second in the Lure Stakes on October 29 at Santa Anita. Prior to this race, the 4-year-old Al Tamayoz had finished third in City of Hope (G2) there on 1 October.
“He’s a horse on the way to getting better,” said D’Amato. “We gave him time off as a 3-year-old to grow, come back better, more mature and more competitive.”
D’Amato’s other horse is cash stocks. The French-bred came into his fold earlier this year and won a second non-allowance reward at Santa Anita in May. But he finished eighth at Eddie Read (G2) in Del Mar this summer and fourth at the John Henry Turf Classic (G2) on October 1 at Santa Anita.
“We’re just trying to get to know him and get the best out of him,” D’Amato said. “He’s a horse who always trains well. I think it’s a question of what exact technique he wants to have and at what distance.”
British-born Desi Mo Chara, from Leonard Powell’s fold, could be sitting in a big race. He missed by half a length in finishing third in the Del Mar Handicap (G2) in September and then missed by a neck to Masteroffoxhounds in John Henry (G2) last month. The 4-year-old Addai finished in the money-spinning in four of his five races on Jimmy Durant Turf.
“The horse is doing well,” Powell said. “It’s been a very good year. Every time we flop a bit against the stakes level horses and hope we get lucky on Friday. He’s getting better with age and we hope he continues to mature.”
The Gray Wizard, born in Ireland, is shipped from Graham Motion’s barn in Maryland. He was a distant second to Nations Pride in the Jockey Club Derby Invitational (G3) in September at the Belmont at Aqueduct meet and still qualifies for the entry-level allowance. Fire a half-mile hand shot in :48.80 on Del Mar Sunday.
The Hollywood Turf Cup is the seventh race on the nine-race Friday ticket. First message is 12:30 PM (Pacific Time).
Full field of rail with jockey, morning line odds: Gray magician (John Velasquez, 4-1); Monetary equity (Umberto Rispoli, 7-2); Follow (Mario Gutierrez, 8-1); way (Juan Hernandez, 5-1); Dean Martini (Edwin Maldonado, 15-1); Prince Abama (Flavian Prat, 3-1), f Desi Mo Chara (Ryan Coratolo, 5-2).