Second in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Mile in his only previous
visit to California, Courageous Cat will seek the first Grade I victory of his
career in the $300,000 Shoemaker Mile Saturday at Hollywood Park.
The 68th running of the turf race is the richer
of two Grade I events to be offered Saturday. A quality field of sprinters will
tangle in the $250,000 Triple Bend Handicap at seven furlongs over Cushion
Post time Saturday is 1 p.m. The Shoemaker is the sixth of
10 races. The Triple Bend is the ninth.
Named in honor of the legendary jockey, who won 2,416 races
at Hollywood Park, the Shoemaker Mile is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In’’
race. The winner is guaranteed a spot in the $2 million TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile,
which will be run Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs.
Additionally, the Breeders’ Cup nominated Shoemaker Mile
winner will have pre-entry and entry fees waived for the BC Mile and receive a
$10,000 travel allowance.
Owned by breeders Pam and Marty Wygod and trained by Bill
Mott, Courageous Cat arrives from New York after beginning his 5-year-old
campaign with a 2 ¼ length win in the Grade III Poker Stakes June 11 at Belmont
A son of Storm Cat and the Rahy mare Tranquility Lake,
Courageous Cat has won five of 12 and earned $781,300. He was defeated by a
half-length by the brilliant Goldikova when runner-up in the 2009 BC Mile at
Success in a turf Grade I at Hollywood Park would not be
something new for Mott. The Hall of Fame trainer won the 2008 Hollywood Derby
with Court Vision. Earlier victories include Duda in the 1995 Matriarch and
Fraise in the 1992 Hollywood Turf Cup.
One of Courageous Cat’s opponents is defending champion
Victor’s Cry, who rallied from well off the pace to win at 21-1 last year.
Owned by Equilete Stable and trained by Eoin Harty, Victor’s
Cry, who has earned half of his six victories on the Hollywood Park grass, will
attempt to become the first repeat winner since Silic went back-to-back in 1999
An earner of $726,021 in 23 starts, Victor’s Cry, a
6-year-old Street Cry ridgling out of the Clever Trick mare Short Time, will be
making his first appearance since finishing fifth in the $5 million Dubai Duty
Free March 26 at Meydan Race Course in the United Arab Emirates.
Caracortado returns to turf after finishing sixth – defeated
by only three-quarters of a length – in the Alysheba Stakes May 6 at Churchill
Owned by Blahut Racing and Hi Lo Racing and trained by Mike
Machowsky, who also bred the gelding, Caracortado has won seven of 14. The son
of Cat Dreams and the Maria’s Mon mare Mons Venus has earned $558,105.
Liberian Freighter will be seeking his sixth win on the
Hollywood Park turf. A 6-year-old gelded son of Bertrando and the Slewpy mare
Anachristina, the California bred is owned by breeder King Edward Racing
Stable, Shawn Dugan and Charles Winner and trained by Neil Drysdale.
A winner of 10 of 28 with earnings of $736,740, Liberian
Freighter won consecutive graded races earlier in the year, including the Grade III Inglewood Handicap
April 24. He finished fifth of six in the American Handicap in his most recent
appearance May 28.
Julio Canani will be
represented by Blue Chagall as the trainer aims for a record-tying fourth win
in the Shoemaker. Canani, who has won
previously with Ladies Din (2002) and the aforementioned Silic will attempt to
equal the mark held by James Nazworthy.
Owned by Prestonwood Farm, Blue Chagall, a French bred son
of Testa Rosa and the Pitskelly mare Eloisey, has won six of 31. The 6-year-old
gelding has earned $373,649, but is without a graded win in the United States.
He won a Group III as a 2-year-old in his native country in 2007.
Smokey Lonesome, who has won two of five on this layout,
will make his first graded appearance on turf for owners Bruce Chandler and
Stuart Tsujimoto and trainer Art Sherman. The 5-year-old Teton Forest gelding
and the Alysheba mare Exclusive Symbol has won four of 12 and earned $182,610.
Ashtar will make his first start in this country after
winning six of 14 in his native Chile. Owned by Green Grass Stable and trained
by Ruben Cardenas, the 4-year-old Merchant of Venice colt and the Hussonet mare
Mey has banked $167,517.
From inside out, the field for the Shoemaker Mile:
Courageous Cat, Patrick Valenzuela rides, 124 pounds; Blue Chagall, Joel
Rosario, 124; Smokey Lonesome, Rafael Bejarano, 124; Ashtar, Martin Pedroza,
124; Caracortado, Joe Talamo, 124; Victor’s Cry, Victor Espinoza, 124 and
Liberian Freighter, Martin Garcia, 124.