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Rousing Sermon Faces Cal-Breds at Del Mar

Rousing Sermon steps down from the Grade I and Grade II level of competition he’s been facing through his last six starts to take on seven fellow Cal-breds in Friday’s $200,000 Real Good Deal Stakes.

Can he put an Amen to a seven-race losing streak? It probably won’t be too surprising to owner/breeders Mr. and Mrs. Larry D. Williams and Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer if the 3-year-old son of Lucky Pulpit-Rousing Again does.

Rousing Sermon established credentials as a Kentucky Derby candidate with a victory in the California Cup Juvenile and two close seconds in stakes races, the last being the Grade I CashCall Futurity, to end a 2-year-old campaign of 2011 having never been out of the money in six starts with earnings of $274,000.

The Road to the Triple Crown races undertaken this year proved a bumpy one, however, with a third place finish in the Louisiana Derby being the only on-the-board result in Derby preps. And a Kentucky Derby try resulted in an eighth-place finish, at odds of 40-1, beaten 8 ¼ lengths.

“He had a lot of trouble in the race,” Hollendorfer’s assistant, Dan Ward, said Thursday morning of the Derby effort. “You watch the replay and he actually ran very well. He was blocked and had to wait and wait (for running room) and he finished only three-quarters of a length behind Union Rags and ahead of a lot of good horses.”

Hansen, the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner and a heavy morning line favorite for Saturday’s West Virginia Derby, was ninth, two lengths behind Rousing Sermon.

“This year he’s run against a lot of really good horses. Creative Cause and I’ll Have Another (twice each), and all the other Derby horses.”

In his most recent start, Rousing Sermon was fourth behind Blueskiesnrainbows in the 1 1/8 mile Swaps Stakes on July 4 at Hollywood Park. Stablemate Nonios, second in the Swaps, would go on to another runner-up effort behind Paynter in last Sunday’s $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park in New Jersey.

“That (Swaps) was productive race,” Ward said. “He ran his highest Beyer (speed figure) ever (98) and two other horses came out of that race and ran big the next time out. Now if he manages to win against Cal-breds it will boost his confidence.”

The Real Good Deal, at seven furlongs, will be the first at a sprint distance for Rousing Sermon since a third-place finish in the six-furlong I’m Smokin here on September 5 of last year. Rousing Sermon followed that with a victory in the Cal Cup Juvenile in October at Santa Anita, his only win outside the maiden ranks.

 

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