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
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.