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Treat Gently Eyes Hollywood Turf Cup

Hollywood Park logo.
Photo: Hollywood Park

Treat Gently, a 5-year-old mare who is a Grade II winner on two continents, will seek to become the second female to win the $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup, which will be run for the 28th time Saturday.

 

Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott confirmed from Kentucky Sunday that the Juddmonte Farms homebred will be flown to California Monday afternoon with assistant Leana Williford. Patrick Valenzuela has the call in the 1 ½-mile grass test.

 

“It’s a Grade I, and we wanted to give her an opportunity there,” explained Mott of the decision to target the Turf Cup. “A mile and a half is her trip.”

 

Treat Gently comes off a fourth-place finish against males in the Grade I Turf Classic at 12 furlongs on a yielding Belmont Park course October 2. Three-wide on both turns, she was beaten by 2 ¾ lengths and finished behind Winchester, Paddy O’Prado and Grassy.

 

Treat Gently began her career in France with Andre Fabre and won the Group II Prix de Mallaret at Saint-Cloud in 2008. She was shipped to the United States in 2009 and started twice for Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel before his death last November.

 

The English-bred mare has been with Mott all year, during which time she won the Grade II Sheepshead Bay Stakes at Belmont and the Grade III R.G. Dick Memorial Handicap at Delaware Park.

 

The only female to win the Hollywood Turf Cup was champion Miss Alleged as a 4-year-old for Hall of Fame trainer Charlie Whittingham and eight-time Turf Cup winner Chris McCarron in 1991.

 

Three other females finished second: Queen to Conquer in 1981, Zalataia in 1983 and Megahertz in 2004. In the 2008 running, females Black Mamba and High Heel Sneakers finished fourth and seventh, respectively.

 

Mott and Valenzuela share some history in the race with Fraise. The horse crossed the wire first in 1992 but was disqualified and placed second behind Bien Bien for interference. In 1993 Mott returned to send out Fraise to a record six-length victory under McCarron.

 

Juddmonte seeks its third Turf Cup victory. Prince Khalid Abdullah’s stable won previously with Alphabatim in 1986 and Champs Elysees in 2008.

 

A field of at least seven is shaping up: Treat Gently (Valenzuela), the Neil Drysdale-trained duo of Bourbon Bay (Rafael Bejarano) and Marlang (Joel Rosario), Temple City (Joe Talamo), Where’s The Remote (Mike Smith), Buenos Dias (Brice Blanc) and Unusual Suspect.

 

Possibles include Worth Repeating, Big Shot Syd and Allegre.

 

Bourbon Bay and Marlang both worked seven furlongs on turf Sunday under exercise rider Umberto Gomez. Marlang worked alone in 1:26.20 while Bourbon Bay was timed in 1:27.40 in company with Prince Rexy.

 

Hall of Famer Drysdale was happy with the way both of his runners are coming up the race at a distance over which both are proven.

 

Bourbon Bay is undefeated in three starts at 12 furlongs, including the Grade II San Luis Obispo and San Luis Rey Handicaps last winter. Marlang led all the way to win the Grade III Sunset Handicap over the Hollywood Park turf in July.

 

Temple City worked five furlongs on Cushion Track in 1:00.40, while Big Shot Syd was clocked in 1:00.80 for the same distance.

 

Dan Landers, assistant to trainer Ron McAnally, also looks forward to the 1 ½-mile distance for Buenos Dias, a distance at which he has won twice.

 

 

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