Four of the first five finishers in the Oak Tree Derby Oct. 16 will have a rematch in the $250,000 Hollywood Derby Sunday at Hollywood Park.
A Grade I for 3-year-olds at 1 ¼ miles on grass, the Derby is the final race in Hollywood Park’s annual Turf Festival. The other Turf Festival event Sunday card is the $100,000 Miesque, a Grade III for 2-year-old fillies at one mile. The Miesque is the seventh of 10 races while the Hollywood Derby is the ninth.
Besides Fantastic Pick and Blue Panis, the 1-2 finishers in the Oak Tree Derby, a Grade II, Sebastian Flyte, who finished fourth, and Haimish Hy, who was fifth, will be back in this longer affair.
Trained by Jaime Lloyd for Jim Ford, Robert Mayock and Ken Smoke, Fantastic Pick scored the biggest upset in Oak Tree Derby history with his head victory at 22-1. The Fantastic Light gelding out of the Mtoto mare Umilio has won five of 15, banking $191,773. He’s won three of last four and will be making his first appearance in a Grade 1. He will be ridden by Corey Nakatani, a two-time Derby winner. Nakatani’s most recent score came with Explosive Red in 1993.
Blue Panis set the pace and was collared on the wire in his U.S. debut last month for trainer Fabrice Chappet, who co-owns the French bred with Norman Augustin. A son of Panis and the Bering mare Rhapsody in Blue, Blue Panis has won three of 15. His bankroll is $204,666.
Three-quarters of a length behind Fantastic Pick last month, Sebastian Flyte is a son of Observatory out of the Night Shift mare Aravonian. He’s won twice in 10 starts. His most recent victory came in an optional claimer in his United States debut Sept. 4 at Del Mar. Owned by Triple B Farms and trained by Ben Cecil, Sebastian Flyte has earned $95,003.
Haimish Hy will have a new rider in the Derby. Garrett Gomez, who will resume riding regularly again in Southern California for the first time since spring, has the call on the son of Ecton Park and the Equalize mare Tifonica.
Trained by Art Sherman, who also is one Haimish Hy’s owners along with Zvika Akin, Richard Franco and Sy Goldstein, Haimish Hy has won four of nine and earned $137,980.
Bothered by a shoulder injury he suffered in a spill Nov. 4, Gomez returned to the saddle Wednesday at Churchill Downs for the first time since his narrow Breeders’ Cup Classic win aboard Blame Nov. 6.
Citrus Kid will make his California debut for owners Golden Goose Enterprises, James Covello, Michael Imperio and Nick Sallusto and trainer John Terranova. The Lemon Drop Kid colt out of the Ginistrelli mare Orange Ice has won two of eight, earning $146,504. In his lone previous start in a Grade 1, Citrus Kid was second, beaten 1 ¼ lengths by Prince Will I Am in the Jamaica Handicap Oct. 9 at Belmont Park.
Juniper Pass, an allowance winner Nov. 7 against older at the Derby distance, has won two of seven for owners Robert and Betty Irvin and trainer Ray Bell. The son of Lemon Drop Kid and the Coronado’s Quest mare Child Bride, who has earned $70,200, has never competed in a graded stakes.
A son of Wildcat Heir and the Allen’s Prospect mare Julie’s Prospect, Lions Story has won two of 11 and earned $141,500. He is owned by a partnership that includes trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and John Carver.
Fresh off his first win in the United States Nov. 19, Jairzinho will make his initial appearance in a Grade I in the Derby. Owned by Anthony Thompson and Neville Callaghan and trained by Simon Callaghan, Jairzinho has won two of 17 and earned $124,249. He’s a son of Royal Applause and the Polish Precedent mare Polish Belle.
From inside out, the field for the Hollywood Derby: Lions Story, Mike Smith rides, 122 pounds; Blue Panis, Joe Talamo, 122; Sebastian Flyte, Joel Rosario, 122; Juniper Pass, Brice Blanc, 122; Jairzinho, Patrick Valenzuela, 122; Citrus Kid, Rafael Bejarano, 122; Fantastic Pick, Corey Nakatani, 122; Haimish Hy, Garrett Gomez, 122.
Owner-breeders Ken and Sarah Ramsey will be seeking their second victory in the Miesque. The Ramseys, who won with Bail Out Becky in 1994, will be represented Sunday by Holiday for Kitten.
A daughter of Kitten’s Joy and the Cure the Blues mare Blue Holiday comes off a maiden win as the 2-1 favorite Oct. 31 at Churchill Downs. Trained by Wesley Ward, she has earned $39,440 in three starts.
Another filly shipping from Kentucky is Cloneylass. Trained by Rick Dutrow, Jr. for owners Grey and Yarbrough, the daughter of Verglas and the Common Grounds mare Consensus has won once in five starts, banking $32,180. She was a distant third behind Kathmanblu in the $150,000 Jessamine Oct. 14 at Keeneland. Her lone victory came against maidens July 2 at Bellestown in her native Ireland.
The other shipper in the Miesque cast is Wave of Applause. A Royal Applause filly out of the Danehill mare Making Waves she went 1-2 in Europe, earning $15,373. She’s owned by David Bienstock and Charles Winner and trained by Jim Cassidy.
Owned by breeder Pablo Suarez and trained by Doug O’Neill, California Nectar will be making her turf debut. The Stormy Atlantic filly out of the Carson City mare Absolute Nectar has one win in four starts with a bankroll of $57,800. In her last start, she lost by a nose to Swiss Wild Cat in the California Cup Juvenile Fillies Oct. 30.
Neversaidiwassweet defeated maidens in her first in California Oct. 14. Kristin Mulhall trains the daughter of Eurosilver and the Storm Creek mare Surging Storm for American Equistock Racing, Inc. The win came in her third start. Neversaidiwassweet has earned $26,370.
Completing the field are Lucky Trippi, who was a main track sprint winner against $50,000 maidens Oct. 14 for Green Grass Stable and trainer Ruben Cardenas and Katy’s Kitty, who has won win in three outings for owner-breeder John Liviakis and trainer Melody Conlon.
From inside out, the field for the Miesque Stakes: Neversaidiwassweet, Rafael Bejarano rides, 118 pounds; Holiday for Kitten, Joel Rosario, 118; California Nectar, Patrick Valenzuela, 116; Cloneylass, Corey Nakatani, 116; Katy’s Kitty, Johnny Gihua, 114; Wave of Applause, Mike Smith, 116 and Lucky Trippi, Edwin Maldonado-Alicea, 117.
The Sunday program also includes the $55,000 Wild Harmony Stakes for older horses at six furlongs on the turf. My Summer Slew, who won the Robert K. Kerlan Memorial earlier this year at this distance over this course, heads a field of six.