Setsuko, who was second in
the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap in 2011 and 2012, will make his first
start as a 6-year-old in Saturday's Native Diver at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Trained by Mandella for
the Wertheimers, who bred the gelding in Kentucky, the son of Pleasantly
Perfect has been away since finishing 3 ½ lengths behind Ron the Greek
in the Big `Cap March 3 of last year.
Out of the Mr. Prospector
mare Dance With Grace, Setsuko has won twice in 18 starts and banked
$656,486. He earned his maiden win over Cushion Track Dec. 17, 2009.
A Saturday victory would
add to Mandella’s record total in the Native Diver. His seventh – and
most recent – win came with Olmodavor in 2003.
Baffert, who won the 2012 Native Diver with Game On Dude, will try for a repeat with Drill.
Owned by Mike Pegram, Karl
Watson and Paul Weitman, the 4-year-old Lawyer Ron colt out of the
Storm Cat mare Cat Dancer has won four of 20 and earned $497,862. He’s
lost nine in a row since taking the Grade III
Lazaro Barrera Memorial over Cushion Track May 12, 2012.
The last trainer to win
the Native Diver in consecutive years was Mandella. He won three times
in a row with Gentlemen (1996), Refinado Tom (1997) and Puerto Madero
Rousing Sermon stretches
out for owner-breeders Larry and Marianne Williams and Hollendorfer, who
won this race in 2007 with Heatseeker, after winning the On Trust at 7 ½
furlongs against California breds Nov. 24.
Runner-up in the 2011
CashCall Futurity, the 4-year-old Lucky Pulpit colt out of the Awesome
Again mare Rousing Again has won five of 23 and earned $687,842.
Hollendorfer will also saddle Blueskiesnrainbows for Bad Boy Racing, LLC and Whizway Farms and Hear the Ghost.
It will be the first start
for Blueskiesnrainbows since he finished second behind London Bridge in
the Breeders’ Cup Marathon Nov. 1.
Bred in Virginia by Edward
Evans, the 4-year-old son of English Channel and the Deputy Minister
mare Cho Cho San has won five of 21 and banked $459,552. Two of his wins
have come at Betfair Hollywood Park, including
the Grade II Swaps in 2012 when he was trained by Baffert.
Hear the Ghost finished
second in an optional claimer Nov. 7 in his first start since winning
the Grade II San Felipe Stakes eight months earlier.
Owned by Hollendorfer and
Halo Farms, the 3-year-old Ghostzapper gelding and the Coronado’s Quest
mare Rehear has won twice in four starts and earned $232,800.
Slim Shadey will be making his synthetic surface debut in his 32nd lifetime start.
Trained by Simon Callaghan
for owner-breeder Phil Cunningham, the 5-year-old Val Royal gelding out
of the Chief’s Crown mare Vino Veritas has won five times and banked
$623,064 on turf.
Soi Phet returns to graded company after finishing fourth in the Big Bear Stakes Oct. 31.
A 5-year-old Tizbud
gelding out of the Siberian Summer mare Summer Jersey, Soi Phet has five
wins in 22 races and earnings of $266,526.
The California bred has
picked up most of that bankroll and four of the victories since being
claimed for $16,000 May 23 by trainer Leonard Powell for a partnership
that includes Gerald Benowitz and Sandra Powell.
Like Drill, Mobilized will
be trying to end a nine-race losing streak for Double JH Stable, Inc.
and the Estate of breeder Robert Reseigne.
The 7-year-old son of Soul
of the Matter and the Red Ransom mare Valleyofthebells hasn’t won since
capturing the Tiznow Stakes by 7 ¼ lengths April 28, 2012.
Mobilized, who has six
wins in 31 stars and a bankroll of $427,840, could become the oldest
winner in Native Diver history. Seven 6-year-olds have won with Saint
Stephen the most recent in 2006.
Fire With Fire returns to
Southern California for David Heerensperger and Drysdale, who won this
race in 1982 with Native Tactics, after finishing third in the Grade III
Berkeley Handicap Nov. 29 at Golden Gate.
The 5-year-old gelded son
of Distorted Humor and the Capote mare Cosmic Fire has won four of 27
and has a bankroll of $347,644. He has never competed over Cushion
From inside out, the field for the 35th
Native Diver Stakes: Blueskiesnrainbows, Martin Pedroza rides, 119
pounds; Fire With Fire, Joe Talamo, 117; Slim Shadey, Edwin Maldonado, 121; Setsuko, Victor Espinoza,
117; Drill, Mike Smith,
117; Soi Phet, Joel Rosario, 117; Mobilized, Gary Stevens, 117; Rousing
Sermon, Rafael Bejarano, 117 and Hear the Ghost, Corey Nakatani, 118.