Photo: Benoit Photos
The tradition of California-bred Thoroughbred runners is a grand one. Horses the ilk of Morvich, Bed o’ Roses, Determine, Swaps, T.V. Lark, Decidedly, Hill Rise, Native Diver, Quicken Tree, Ancient Title, Crystal Water, Flying Paster, Snow Chief, Best Pal, Free House, Tiznow, Lava Man and Acclamation have gallantly carried the state breeding flag to literally hundreds of important wins. Whether or not either Tamarando or Rousing Sermon can someday be mentioned in the conversation of great Cal-breds, may be a tall order, but on Saturday, they look to do their state breeding program proud in a pair of graded stakes on the last big race card to be seen at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Like the late, great Silky Sullivan, (also a Cal-bred), Tamarando likes to wait for much of the race to go by before he does his best running. The dark bay juvenile colt by Bertrando, (another highly successful Cal-bred), out of the Dehere mare Tamrack Bay, Tamarando will be one of the horses to watch in the $750,000 Grade 1 CashCall Futurity. Bred by owners Mr. and Mrs. Larry Williams, and trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Tamarando is already a Grade 1 winner having accounted for the seven furlong Del Mar Futurity with a ferocious late kick back on September 4.
After fighting the speed favoring surface of Santa Anita to finish third in two races after his big win at Del Mar, including the Grade 1 FrontRunner Stakes, Tamarando returned to the winner’s circle with a score in the Real Quiet Stakes on November 23. It marked his first race at Hollywood Park since his career debut, and once again demonstrated his powerful late run, as he came from last to win going away by 3 ½ lengths. Tamarando now has three wins in seven starts, a bankroll of $355,120 and is the only multiple stakes winner in the Futurity field. He’ll break from the 2-hole under Rafael Bejarano, and is the morning line second choice at 4-1.
Meanwhile, a couple of races earlier in the card, Rousing Sermon looks to add the $150,000 Grade 3 Native Diver Handicap (one of the best Cal-breds ever) Handicap to his growing list of accomplishments. The 4-year-old son of Lucky Pulpit, out of the Awesome Again mare Rousing Again, has been there, and done that. Also trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, and to be ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Rousing Sermon is coming off a win in the On Trust Handicap at Hollywood Park on November 24, but long before that, he was a colt looking for glory in the CashCall Futurity. That afternoon two years ago, Rousing Sermon’s late rally was held off by Liaison.
The narrow loss remains the closest he has come to a grade 1 victory. It also propelled him to a trip down the Kentucky Derby trail. 4 ½ months later, the chestnut colt made it to Churchill Downs for the 2012. Passing tiring horses, Rousing Sermon ultimately finished 8th that day, as I’ll Have Another became a household name. He’s been plugging ever since, and in Hollywood Park, he is on a track in which he generally runs well. The victory in the On Trust was his first stakes victory of the year, and came over this same synthetic racing surface. The win raised his lifetime mark to 23-5-5-6, with earnings of $687,842. Rousing Sermon is the morning line lukewarm 3-1 favorite in a field of 9 in the Native Diver, which also includes Hear the Ghost and Setsuko.