There is something for everybody in the $100,000
Grade III Wilshire Handicap for fillies and mares at one mile on the Hollywood Park turf Saturday.
There is the proven millionaire Evening Jewel, the
probable favorite. There is Grade II stakes winner Well Monied, returning from
an 11-month layoff. There is Vamo a Galupiar, a Group I winner in Chile making her United States debut. There is Dubawi Heights,
seeking her third straight victory after a pair of sharp scores. There is
Talktoomuch, who has won six of eight starts on this course.
Evening Jewel, a Grade I winner on dirt and grass, has
won seven of 18 starts and seeks to add to her earnings of $1,217,943. The
California-bred 4-year-old filly finished fourth in the Madison Stakes at
Keeneland on April 14 in her last start.
“She didn’t handle the track as well as she could
have,” said trainer Jim Cassidy Sunday from Santa Anita. “They had had a lot of
rain and it was pretty dead. She came back last Monday and seems good right
now. She will work here Monday.” Regular rider Victor Espinoza has the Wilshire
Evening Jewel won the Grade II Honeymoon Handicap
last year in her only start on this turf course, the same race that Well Monied
won in 2009.
Trainer Howie Zucker is glad to have the 5-year-old
mare back on the comeback trail.
“She hurt herself in training about a month after her
last start in the Gamely,” said Zucker from Santa Anita, in reference to a
fourth-place finish here last May. “She was a buyback at the Keeneland November
sale by her owner (C.T. Grether).
“She looked so fabulous at the sale, I was glad he
didn’t sell her so I could have another chance with her,” said Zucker. “She
came back last year off a long layoff to win, and she’s training better than
ever.” Rafael Bejarano has the call.
Trainer Mike Mitchell said that Talktoomuch, a
7-year-old mare he claimed here in November for $32,000, deserved a chance in
graded stakes company. “She’s such a neat little mare,” said Mitchell, happy
with a six-furlong work in 1:12.80 on Cushion Track Saturday. “We’re going to
take a shot.” Joe Talamo will ride.
Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale is anxious to
unveil Chilean import Vamo a Galupiar, a 4-year-old filly who joined his stable
last winter after winning three of four starts, including the Group I Clasico
Arturo Lyon Pena at one mile on turf at Club Hippico.
Dubawi Heights, an English-bred 4-year-old filly, has been making
steady progress for trainer Simon Callaghan. After breaking her maiden here in
November, she came back to win an allowance race on the Santa Anita turf April
1. Joel Rosario has the return call.
Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer worked a pair of
candidates on the turf: Lilly Fa Pootz, five furlongs in a bullet 1:02; and
Hemera, six furlongs in 1:15. Hollendorfer said Lilly Fa Pootz was definite for
the Wilshire, and Hemera was possible. Corey Nakatani will ride one.
Martin Pedroza has a call with trainer Paco Gonzalez
on Burg Berg, runner-up in the Grade II Royal Heroine Mile here last year.
Two other nominees worked on Cushion Track: Saannen
four furlongs in 50.80, and Givine five furlongs in 1:00.20.
Another talented import nominated is Middle Club, a
Group III winner in France
last year. Trainer John Shirreffs said the 4-year-old filly would probably make
a later start.
The Wilshire serves as a prep for the Grade I Gamely
Stakes May 30.