Compari, who made a successful
transition to the graded stakes ranks when taking the Arcadia Handicap on April
3 at Santa Anita, will step into an even tougher spot in the $250,000 Shoemaker
Mile on Monday at Hollywood
A Grade 1 on the turf, the Shoemaker
is one of three stakes on the Memorial Day program. The Mile will be preceded
by the $60,000 Willard L. Proctor Memorial for 2-year-olds at 5 ½ furlongs on
Cushion Track and the $150,000 Honeymoon Handicap for 3-year-old fillies at 1
1/8 miles on grass.
Owned by breeders John Harris,
John Nicoletti and Don Valpredo and trained by Marty Jones, Compari has won six
in a row after beginning his career with a third place finish against maidens
on the Santa Anita main track on Feb. 26, 2009.
In the Arcadia, the 4-year-old gelded son of
Redattore and the Dixieland Band mare Southern Charm led throughout, prevailing
by a half-length over Fluke in the Grade II.
Undefeated in five races on turf,
Compari, who was scratched from the Inglewood Handicap on April 25 due to a
foot issue, has worked four times in May. With earnings of $422,640, Compari
will break from the outside in the field of 10. Joel Rosario will ride. Like
all starters, he will carry 124 pounds.
If Compari wins, he would be the
bred to capture the Shoemaker since Megan’s Interco was victorious in 1994.
Another gelding on a similar roll
is Mr Gruff. Trained by Ron Ellis for owner Gary Broad, the 6-year-old son of
Mr. Greeley and the Clever Trick mare Ruff has won four consecutive starts –
dating to March of last year – but has yet to run beyond 6 ½ furlongs.
All eight of his races have come
at Santa Anita. He’s won five and earned $229,680. His latest victory was his
second in a row in the San Simeon Handicap, a Grade III, on April 17. He will
leave from the rail and be ridden for the first time by Joe Talamo.
In terms of money won, Karelian is
the most accomplished member of the lineup.
Trained by Rusty Arnold for
owner-breeder Green Lantern Stables, the 8-year-old Bertrando gelding and the
Theatrical mare Leaning
Tower has won 10 of 21
while banking $738,675.
He is 2-for-2 in 2010, having
upset Gio Ponti in the Tampa Bay Handicap on Feb. 20 at Tampa Bay Downs, then
defeated Court Vision and six others in the Makers Mark, a Grade 1, on April 9
Rafael Bejarano will ride
Karelian, who will be trying to become the second consecutive Kentucky shipper to win the race. In 2009,
Thorn Song, a 9-1 shot who had made his previous start at Churchill Downs, won
by a head over Hyperbaric.
Mike Smith, who rode Thorn Song to
that surprise victory, has the mount on Gallant Son this year. Owned by Chris
and Diane Randall and trained by Frank Lucarelli, Gallant Son, a 4-year-old son
of Malabar Gold and the Exploit mare Explicitly, already has a win at the meet.
He rallied from off the pace to
take the Inglewood Handicap, a Grade III, on April 25. He’s won six of 16 and
Trainer Julio Canani, who has won
the race three times, will be represented by Blue Chagall.
A 5-year-old gelded son of Testa
Rossa and the Pitskelly mare Eloisey, Blue Chagall has yet to finish better
than fourth in three appearances in graded stakes in the United States.
Brice Blanc has the call on the French bred who has won four of 19 while
If Blue Chagall were to upset the
field, Canani would tie Jim Nazworthy for most wins in the Shoemaker, which was
originally known as the Premiere Handicap.
Returning from a layoff of more
than seven months, Global Hunter will be looking for his second Grade 1
victory. The 7-year-old son of Jade Hunter out of the Telescopico mare Griffe
de Paris hasn’t been seen since finishing second in the Oak Tree Mile last Oct.
Omar Berrio will ride Global
Hunter, whose biggest win came in the Eddie Read Handicap last July 25 at Del Mar, for owners L-Bo
Racing and Monte Pyle and trainer A C Avila. The Argentine bred has won seven
of 28, banking $521,365.
The rest of the Shoemaker cast
includes Victor’s Cry, who was second behind Mr Gruff in the San Simeon, Golden
Balls, whose last victory came in the 2007 La Puente at Santa Anita, Noble Court and Tangled Tango.
From the inside out, here is the
field for the 67th Shoemaker Mile: Mr Gruff, Joe Talamo rides, 124
pounds; Victor’s Cry, Corey Nakatani, 124; Gallant Son, Mike Smith, 124; Global
Hunter, Omar Berrio, 124; Golden Balls, Christian Santiago Reyes, 124; Noble
Court, Tyler Baze, 124; Blue Chagall, Brice Blanc, 124; Tangled Tango, Victor
Espinoza, 124 and Compari, Joel Rosario, 124.