Race of the Week 2017

Riviera Cocktail Tops American Handicap

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Photo: Hollywood Park

Riviera Cocktail, who has yet to lose on the Hollywood Park turf course, will step into graded company against nine others in the $150,000 American Handicap on Sunday.

Owned by a partnership that includes breeder Joseph Allen and Gallagher Equine LTD and trained by Neil Drysdale, the 4-year-old Giant’s Causeway colt out of the Rubiano mare Starry Dreamer is 3-for-3 on the local grass. Two of the wins have come during the current meet.

He won an optional claimer by three-quarters of a length going one mile on May 15, then scored by a nose in an allowance contest at 1 1/16 miles on June 6.

A winner of four of 13 with earnings of $171,629, Riviera Cocktail will be looking for his first win at the American distance of  1 1/8 miles and his initial victory in a graded stakes.

In his most recent appearance in a graded race, Riviera Cocktail was third behind Loup Breton and High Court Drama in the San Marcos, which, like the American, is a Grade II, on Jan. 24 at Santa Anita.

A win by the Kentucky bred would be the fourth for Drysdale in the American. The most recent for the Hall of Famer was with Labeeb in 1996.

One of the other entrants is Compari, who is also being considered for the $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 10.

Trained by Marty Jones for owner-breeders John Harris, John Nicoletti and Don Valpredo, Compari has won five of six on turf. He suffered his first loss on the surface when a troubled seventh in the Shoemaker Mile, a Grade 1, on May 31.

A 4-year-old gelded son of Redattore and the Dixieland Band mare Southern Charm, the California bred has won six of eight and $442,640. He won at nine furlongs on Cushion Track, taking the $250,000 Snow Chief in the spring of 2009.

Sixth in the Shoemaker Mile, Global Hunter will be making his second start of the year for owners Monte Pyle and L-Bo Racing. Trained by A C Avila, the 7-year-old Jade Hunter horse and the Telescopico mare Griffe de Paris has won seven of 29 and earned $521,365.

His biggest win came in the 2009 Eddie Read Handicap at Del Mar, a Grade 1 at the American distance.

Glowing Praise is back in California after finishing third in the Dallas Turf Cup on May 31 at Lone Star Park. Trained by Eoin Harty for owner John Fretwell, the 4-year-old Fantastic Light gelding and the Polish Precedent mare Beading has three wins in 13 starts. His bankroll is $56,098.

In his lone start at Hollywood Park, Glowing Praise was third in the Inglewood Handicap on April 25.

Hyades will cut back a bit after finishing second to Acclamation in the Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap at 1 ¼ miles on June 5.

A 4-year-old Aldebaran colt out of the Shirley Heights mare Lingerie, Hyades has two wins in 12 tries while earning $113,710. He is owned by Triple B Farms and trained by Ben Cecil, who won the 1998 American with Magellan.

Completing the field are Oil Man, Quindici Man, Red Door Drive, Meteore and Temple City.

A 5-year-old son of Sky Mesa and the Sandpit mare Sheza Nasty Lady, Red Door Drive will be making his graded stakes debut for owner Arnold Zetcher.

He is a nose away from entering the American with a three race win streak and has improved since joining trainer Bob Baffert’s barn. In nine starts for Baffert, Red Door Drive has four wins and has been worse than third only once.

Both Oil Man and Meteore own a victory over the Hollywood Park turf course. Trained by John Sadler for Tommy Town Thoroughbreds, who teamed to win this race in 2008 with longshot Whatsthescript,  Oil Man, a 4-year-old Pyrus colt and the Batshoof mare So Precious won the 2009 Cinema here. He has three wins in 15 attempts. His earnings stand at $153,214.

Meteore, who is owned and was bred by the Wertheimer brothers, won an optional claimer over this course on June 11, 2009. In his 4-year-old debut on June 6, Meteore finished third, a half-length behind Riviera Cocktail.

The son of Pulpit and the Twining mare Meteor Miracle has won three of 13 and earned $194,276. He is trained by Richard Mandella, who has won the American three times, including twice with The Tin Man (2002, 2006). His first victory in the race came with Mister Wonderful II in 1989.

Here is the lineup, from inside out, for the 71st American Handicap: Riviera Cocktail, Tyler Baze rides, 115 pounds; Compari, Joe Talamo, 119; Hyades, Victor Espinoza, 114; Glowing Praise, David Flores, 115; Global Hunter, Brice Blanc, 118; Quindici Man, Christian Santiago Reyes, 114; Temple City, Alonso Quinonez, 113; Red Door Drive, Martin Pedroza, 114; Meteore, Rafael Bejarano, 115 and Oil Man, Joel Rosario, 115.

The American is the seventh race on the program. Post time is 1 p.m.




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