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Mr Gruff Works for Shoemaker

Hollywood Park logo.
Photo: Hollywood Park

Mr Gruff, seeking to stretch his talents to two turns, and Riviera Cocktail, looking to make a mark in graded stakes company, worked on the  turf Sunday morning for the $250,000 Grade I Shoemaker Mile on May 31.

Mr Gruff, winner of his last four starts on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita--including the last two runnings of the San Simeon Handicap--worked seven furlongs in 1:26.40 under exercise rider Jose Dominguez.

“The distance should be no problem,” said Ellis. “My only concern is he doesn’t seem to like this grass as much as he did the grass at Santa Anita. I expect to see him on the lead. He’s used to going (the first half) in 43 and change.”

Riviera Cocktail worked four furlongs in 50.80 to the satisfaction of trainer Neil Drysdale, a three-time Shoemaker winner. The 4-year-old colt is unbeaten in two starts on the Hollywood Park turf at the Shoemaker distance of one mile.

A field of six to nine is taking shape. Probable are Compari (Joel Rosario), Gallant Son (Mike Smith), Karelian (Rafael Bejarano), Monterey Jazz (Tyler Baze), Mr Gruff (Joe Talamo) and Riviera Cocktail (Alonso Quinonez).

Heading a list of possibles are Blue Chagall, Global Hunter and Tangled Tango.


Karelian, winner of the Grade I Makers Mark Mile in his last start at Keeneland, is scheduled to be flown here Wednesday. Trainer Rusty Arnold said a final work for the 8-year-old gelding at Keeneland was postponed from today until Monday because of heavy rain.



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