Photo: Benoit Photos
Since my pros and cons article on the Hollywood Starlet (won
by Streaming) seemed to drive some discussion, it's only fitting I continue the
series with a look at the final Grade I to be run in the history of Betfair Hollywood Park: The $750,000 CashCall Futurity.
In a twist that baffles this scribe, this race, one that's
drawn one of the largest fields for a 2-year-old race all year long, will offer
exactly zero points in the Kentucky Derby standings. That doesn't mean there's
a dearth of talent here, though; far from it. 13 colts and geldings will go two
turns over the cushion track Saturday, and here's a look at the field.
1) Electric Eddie
Pros: The hard-knocking son of Square Eddie has back-to-back second-place
finishes in stakes company on his resume. Last out, he ran a solid second at
this route, so the two-turn setting shouldn't be too much of an issue.
Cons: While he's gotten better near the end of his 2-year-old season, Electric
Eddie is still a maiden. He's also taking a huge step up in class from the
listed stakes ranks, and this field includes Tamarando, who dispatched him
fairly easily last out in the Real Quiet.
Pros: One of the few Grade I winners in this field, Tamarando won the Del Mar
Futurity earlier this year and most recently came from off the pace to win the
Real Quiet going away. There were some concerns after the Jerry Hollendorfer
trainee was beaten twice at Santa Anita, but he seems to be rounding into form.
Cons: You can argue he didn't beat much last out, and while the starts at Santa
Anita came on conventional dirt, he fell to several horses he'll face again
today in those outings (namely FrontRunner winner Bond Holder).
3) Bond Holder
Pros: His fourth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile may have been better
than it looked. He was well back
early and had to alter course in the stretch, yet still managed to beat most of
a very talented field. Additionally, his most recent six-furlong drill in 1:12
and change at Hollywood Park (per Equibase) was very good.
Cons: As sharp as he was at Santa Anita, he's only got one win in six lifetime
starts, and is 0-for-4 on synthetic surfaces. That includes an inauspicious
debut at Hollywood Park in July, when he ran fifth.
4) Candy Boy
Pros: His maiden-breaking win last out was extremely impressive. He went from
last to first at this route and kicked away to win by more than eight lengths.
The workouts since then have been excellent, and he attracts the services of
Cons: This is a big step up in class. He beat just four others in the
aforementioned victory, and two back, he had the misfortune of running into Tap
It Rich, who shows up in this spot.
5) Tap It Rich
Pros: A buzz horse entering the Breeders' Cup Juvenile off a very impressive
win at first asking, the Bob Baffert trainee ran fifth after a troubled trip.
He has every reason to improve off of that effort, and Baffert has changed bits
in an attempt to get the son of Tapit to be more relaxed during the race.
Cons: Like many young horses, there are questions about his maturity. He was
rank at times during the Juvenile, and this race features a similarly-large
field with very talented horses. If he puts it together, he's a major player,
but the potential exists for him to find distractions in his first-ever start
on a synthetic surface.
6) Shared Belief
Pros: Good luck finding holes in his first two starts. After a dominant maiden
win at Golden Gate, Jerry Hollendorfer sent the gelding south for a romp in the
Grade III Hollywood Prevue. He thumped a field that included the highly-touted
Kobe's Back by nearly eight lengths in 1:22.17 for the seven-furlong distance,
and a repeat effort would make him very difficult to beat.
Cons: About the only unknown with the son of Candy Ride is the two-turn distance.
His pedigree (out of a Storm Cat mare) would indicate that the added ground
should not be a problem, but he'd be far from the first horse to have trouble
stretching out against a Grade I field.
7) Even Echo
Pros: Well, he'll be a price.
Cons: This horse is 0-for-6, has never finished better than fifth, and was
thumped in the FrontRunner in his only other try in graded company.
8) Brother Soldier
Pros: He broke his maiden at first asking and hasn't run badly in two starts
since then. He was forced to close into the Santa Anita speed bias two back and
ran third in the Prevue last out over this surface.
Cons: Prevue winner Shared Belief beat him by nearly 13 lengths in his last
outing, and Joe Talamo got off to ride Karma King. Edwin Maldonado is more than
capable, but that's a LOT of ground to make up for a horse trying two turns for
the first time.
9) Karma King
Pros: He's yet to run a bad one in three lifetime starts. He won first out at
Del Mar, was second in an allowance at Golden Gate, and most recently ran third
in the Real Quiet behind Tamarando and Electric Eddie. Talamo stays on, and
he's been riding well.
Cons: There's plenty of early speed to keep this one company early. Last out,
he set pretty solid fractions before getting reeled in, and on paper, a similar
situation seems possible in this spot unless he shakes loose and slows things
down going around the first turn.
10) Poker Player
Pros: He's accomplished on a synthetic surface, having won the Grade III
Bourbon at Keeneland before a failed run in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf.The distance isn't an issue, and his late-running style ensures he'll at least
be moving in the right direction late in the game.
Cons: This will be his fifth start at as many racetracks since August. While the
win in the Bourbon was really solid, his eighth-place run last out raises the
chances that the Grade I level is a bit too much for him at this point.
Pros: This son of Curlin out of a Dixie Union mare is tailor-made for two
turns. He overcame adversity last out at Churchill, moving five-wide amidst
slow early fractions to break his maiden at this distance. Two back in his
debut, he blew the break, yet still rallied for second money on the polytrack
Cons: This is a major jump in class for the Ken McPeek trainee. Also, we're
getting to where post positions start becoming problems, and another wide trip
could be in the cards.
Pros: He's done very little wrong, winning at first asking at Keeneland before
running third in the Delta Jackpot. Delta Downs isn't often kind to deep
closers, but the son of Einstein salvaged a share despite running in last for
most of the early going. Hollywood Park should be much more fair to his running
Cons: They weren't crawling early last out, and Rankhasprivileges was still
beaten by open lengths. Maybe Rise Up was THAT good that day, but this is a
very good field, and this post may leave him in the parking lot around the
13) Kobe's Back
Pros: If not for the presence of Shared Belief, we'd be talking about a sharp
return by Kobe's Back, who ran second in the Prevue and topped the third-place
finisher by more than four lengths in his first start since June. The son of
Flatter should only be sharper in his second start off the layoff for John
Sadler, and he's attracted Joel Rosario.
Cons: Rosario will have his hands full in saving ground from the 13-hole. Also,
maybe he needed the race to a certain extent, but nearly eight lengths is a lot
of ground to make up to Shared Belief, especially when that one drew a far