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Rail Trip Headlines Californian

09 July 11: Jose Valdivia Jr. rides Rail Trip (no. 8) to victory in the 70th running of the grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup Handicap for three year olds and upward at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, California.

An impressive winner in his 2010 debut in the $150,000 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap on May 8, Rail Trip will aim for his fifth victory on Cushion Track in the $150,000 Californian on Saturday at Hollywood Park.


The Californian is the ninth of 10 races. The fourth is the $60,000 Desert Stormer Handicap for older fillies and mares at six furlongs on Cushion Track. Post time is 1 p.m.


Owned by Mace and Samantha Siegel’s Jay Em Ess Stable and trained by Ron Elllis, Rail Trip has won four of six – and finished second in his two losses – at Hollywood Park.


A victory against seven opponents in the Grade II at 1 1/8 miles by the gelded son of Jump Start out of the Carson City mare Sweet Trip would make him the first horse to win both the LeRoy and Californian in the same year since Even The Score in 2004.


In his 3 ¼ length win in the LeRoy, a Grade II at 1 1/16 miles, Rail Trip made amends for a defeat in the race the previous year. He was defeated at 3-5 in the 2009 renewal, losing by 1 ¼ lengths to Ball Four.


Similarly, Rail Trip will be trying to improve upon a second place finish in the 2009 Californian. Some 12 months ago, he was beaten three-quarters of a length by Informed.


Rafael Bejarano, who rode the 5-year-old for the first time in the Mervyn LeRoy, has the return engagement. Hollywood Park’s leading jockey will be looking for his second win in the Californian in three years. He scored with Heatseeker in 2008.


Rail Trip has won seven of 10 and earned $877,790.


“We’re out to avenge those losses,’’ said Ellis, who won the 2007 Californian with Buzzards Bay. “He’s been awesome since his last race. He’s ready to go.’’


Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who has never won the Californian, will be represented by a pair – Sangaree and Spurrier.


Second at 16-1 in the Mervyn LeRoy, Sangaree is seeking his first victory in a graded stakes.

Owned by Darley Stable, the 5-year-old Awesome Again horse and the Mari’s Book mare Mari’s Sheba has won four of 14 while earning $197,110. His last win came in the Joe Hernandez, a race rained off turf, at 6 ½ furlongs on March 7 at Santa Anita.


Idle since finishing last in the March Madness on grass on March 28 at Santa Anita, Spurrier has had success on Cushion Track. The gray son of Dixieland Band and the Valiant Nature mare Humble has won two of three here and was second in his loss.


Owned by Arnold Zetcher, Spurrier has four wins in 21 lifetime starts. He has banked $211,647.


Cigar Man, third in the LeRoy, is looking for his first victory at Hollywood Park. The 5-year-old Drewman gelding out of the Big Bold Sefa mare Foxey’s Last Key, has been second or third in his five Inglewood starts.


Owned by Ron Manzani and Russell Sarno and trained by Vladimir Cerin, Cigar Man has won four of 27 while banking $299,219.


The upset winner of the 2008 Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park, Tres Borrachos finished fourth in the LeRoy. Trained by Beau Greely for a partnership that includes breeders John Greely IV and Phil Houchens, the 5-year-old Ecton Park gelding out of the Peteski mare Pete’s Fancy has won five of 25 while earning $602,582.


Slew’s Tiznow is another LeRoy participant hoping to fare better in the Californian. The 5-year-old son of Tiznow and the Slewpy mare Hepatica was sixth last month.


Owned by breeder Joseph LaCombe and trained by James Lloyd, Slew’s Tiznow has won four of 13, earning $303,100. His only on the board finish in a graded stakes was a second as a 2-year-old in the 2007 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland.


The day before Zenyatta tries to make history in the $250,000 Vanity Handicap, owners Jerry and Ann Moss, trainer John Shirreffs and jockey Mike Smith will look for an upset with Aitcho.


A 5-year-old Stormy Atlantic horse and the Valid Appeal mare Few Choice Words, Aitcho has won four of 12 and earned $161,100. He has made two appearances in graded races. Neither has gone well. He was last in the 2009 Californian, then was sixth of seven in the grassy Arcadia Handicap on April 3 at Santa Anita.


Aside from Rail Trip, One Track Mind is the only entrant coming off a win. The 5-year-old gelded son of Mach One and the Moscow Ballet mare Bubble Dance held on to win an optional claimer by a nose on May 21. The California bred is owned by Al Aidekman and Bruce Rose and trained by David Bernstein, the winner of the  1994 Californian with The Wicked North.


Claimed for $25,000 by his current connections out of a maiden race at Del Mar on July 31, 2008, One Track Mind has subsequently won six of 13. Three of those victories have occurred at Hollywood Park. Overall, the chestnut is 6-for-17 with earnings of $226,532.


The field for the 57th Californian from the rail out: Aitcho, Mike Smith rides, 116 pounds; Slew’s Tiznow, David Flores, 116; One Track Mind, Tyler Baze, 116; Spurrier, Joel Rosario, 116; Cigar Man, Joe Talamo, 116; Sangaree, Martin Garcia, 116; Rail Trip, Rafael Bejarano, 118 and Tres Borrachos, Victor Espinoza, 116.

 

 

 

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