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Dakota Phone Ready for Native Diver

Dakota Phone, the only California-based horse to win a Breeders’ Cup race this year, will return Saturday in the $100,000 Native Diver Handicap, a Grade III test at 1 1/8 miles on Cushion Track.

“He’s ready to go,” said Dan Ward, assistant to trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, Sunday after the 5-year-old gelding worked satisfactorily Friday, his third drill here since winning the $1-million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile November 6 at Churchill Downs.

Joel Rosario, who guided Dakota Phone to the 37-1 upset and millionaire status, has the return call. Dakota Phone has been in the money in 22 of 32 starts and earned $1,273,810 for John Carver, Halo Farm and George Todaro.

Other probable starters include California Cup Classic winner Soul Candy (Rafael Bejarano) and Aggie Engineer (Joe Talamo) for trainer Paddy Gallagher, Spurrier (Victor Espinoza), Achak (Alonso Quinonez) and Philatelist (Patrick Valenzuela).

Aggie Engineer, winner of an allowance/optional claimer in his last start, worked seven furlongs in a bullet 1:27.60 Sunday.

Philatelist worked five furlongs in 1:00.40 Sunday for trainer Humberto Ascanio, who won the Native Diver last year with Mast Track. Philatelist will make his first start since March after going to the sidelines with a splint injury.




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