Arnold Zetcher’s Liaison and CRK Stable’s Kettle Corn, the 1-2 finishers in the Grade II Mervyn LeRoy Handicap May 4, are scheduled to renew their rivalry in Saturday’s Grade II, $150,000 Californian.
The 1 1-8 mile Cushion Track race is the final major prep for the Grade I $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup July 6.
Liaison has won three of five starts over the Betfair Hollywood Park
main track, including a victory in the Grade I CashCall Futurity in
2011. The son of Indian Charlie is 2-for-2 this year for Hall of Fame
trainer Bob Baffert, who picked up his first victory in the Californian a
year ago with Game On Dude. Martin Garcia once again has the call
Kettle Corn has a solid record on Cushion Track (7-2-2-3) and was a
fast finishing second in the LeRoy. The 6-year-old son of Candy Ride
was second to Game On Dude in the 2012 Hollywood Gold Cup. Victor
Espinoza will be aboard for John Sadler.
Likely to join those two in the gate are Six S Racing, et al’s
Clubhouse Ride, who finished within a half-length of Game On Dude in the
Grade II Charles Town Classic April 20. The son of Candy Ride is the
top earner ($869,620) of the expected starters. Trainer Craig Lewis
confirmed Garrett Gomez will ride.
Others under consideration for the Californian are Batti Man
(trainer Dan Hendricks), Blueskiesnrainbows (Jerry Hollendorfer),
Rousing Sermon (Hollendorfer) and Oilisblackgold (Craig Dollase).