Evening Jewel Likely Wilshire Favorite

July 24 2010: Evening Jewel and Victor Espinoza win the San Clemente Handicap at Del Mar Race Track in Del Mar CA.

There is something for everybody in the $100,000 Grade III Wilshire Handicap for fillies and mares at one mile on the Hollywood Park turf Saturday.

There is the proven millionaire Evening Jewel, the probable favorite. There is Grade II stakes winner Well Monied, returning from an 11-month layoff. There is Vamo a Galupiar, a Group I winner in Chile making her United States debut. There is Dubawi Heights, seeking her third straight victory after a pair of sharp scores. There is Talktoomuch, who has won six of eight starts on this course.

Evening Jewel, a Grade I winner on dirt and grass, has won seven of 18 starts and seeks to add to her earnings of $1,217,943. The California-bred 4-year-old filly finished fourth in the Madison Stakes at Keeneland on April 14 in her last start.

“She didn’t handle the track as well as she could have,” said trainer Jim Cassidy Sunday from Santa Anita. “They had had a lot of rain and it was pretty dead. She came back last Monday and seems good right now. She will work here Monday.” Regular rider Victor Espinoza has the Wilshire call.

Evening Jewel won the Grade II Honeymoon Handicap last year in her only start on this turf course, the same race that Well Monied won in 2009.

Trainer Howie Zucker is glad to have the 5-year-old mare back on the comeback trail.

“She hurt herself in training about a month after her last start in the Gamely,” said Zucker from Santa Anita, in reference to a fourth-place finish here last May. “She was a buyback at the Keeneland November sale by her owner (C.T. Grether).

“She looked so fabulous at the sale, I was glad he didn’t sell her so I could have another chance with her,” said Zucker. “She came back last year off a long layoff to win, and she’s training better than ever.” Rafael Bejarano has the call.

Trainer Mike Mitchell said that Talktoomuch, a 7-year-old mare he claimed here in November for $32,000, deserved a chance in graded stakes company. “She’s such a neat little mare,” said Mitchell, happy with a six-furlong work in 1:12.80 on Cushion Track Saturday. “We’re going to take a shot.” Joe Talamo will ride.

Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale is anxious to unveil Chilean import Vamo a Galupiar, a 4-year-old filly who joined his stable last winter after winning three of four starts, including the Group I Clasico Arturo Lyon Pena at one mile on turf at Club Hippico.

Dubawi Heights, an English-bred 4-year-old filly, has been making steady progress for trainer Simon Callaghan. After breaking her maiden here in November, she came back to win an allowance race on the Santa Anita turf April 1. Joel Rosario has the return call.

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer worked a pair of candidates on the turf: Lilly Fa Pootz, five furlongs in a bullet 1:02; and Hemera, six furlongs in 1:15. Hollendorfer said Lilly Fa Pootz was definite for the Wilshire, and Hemera was possible. Corey Nakatani will ride one.

Martin Pedroza has a call with trainer Paco Gonzalez on Burg Berg, runner-up in the Grade II Royal Heroine Mile here last year.

Two other nominees worked on Cushion Track: Saannen four furlongs in 50.80, and Givine five furlongs in 1:00.20.

Another talented import nominated is Middle Club, a Group III winner in France last year. Trainer John Shirreffs said the 4-year-old filly would probably make a later start.

The Wilshire serves as a prep for the Grade I Gamely Stakes May 30.



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