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DEL MAR, CA – After finding the world’s best grass horses too much to handle in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1), Red King returns home for an easier test in Friday’s $200,000 Hollywood Turf Cup Stakes (G2) at Del Mar.
The Hollywood Turf Cup is a 1 1/2-mile turf route open to all horses ages 3 and up. This year’s edition is the seventh event on a 9-race card and has a local post time of 3:30 PM.
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Here’s a look at the full field for the Hollywood Turf Cup:
1. North County Guy 15/1 – The first of two drawn into the field for trainer Richard Baltas, he exits a career-best victory by 3 3/4 lengths against optional claimers while going 1 1/8 miles on the Santa Anita Park lawn. He missed the board in both prior forays into the graded stakes ranks, including finishing seventh 2 starts back in the Del Mar Handicap (G2).
2. Oscar Dominguez 15/1 – The defending race champ returns still looking for his first victory since he rallied to neck out an upset over United, who was exiting a narrow runner-up effort in the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1). No better than fifth in his 3 most recent starts, he’s proven over this course and distance, and the nation’s leading rider Irad Ortiz Jr. picks up the mount.
3. Red King 5/1 – He won 3 straight over the summer, culminating in a head score over United in the Del Mar Handicap for his first victory in 9 starts on the local lawn (9-1-4-2 record). One of four Phil D’Amato trainees in the field, he has the talent to contend; the only question mark is how he’ll rebound after shipping back and forth to Keeneland for the Breeders’ Cup.
4. Say the Word 5/1 – His southern California debut comes in his inaugural start for new trainer D’Amato, who’s still seeking his first victory in this event. He blossomed this summer after stretching out to similar distances, exits a 1-length score in the 1 1/2-mile Northern Dancer Stakes (G1), and the summer meet’s leading rider Flavien Prat takes the mount.
5. Arklow 5/2 – Red-hot trainer Brad Cox sends him west for his first try over the local lawn after he finished a respectable sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf while trying to run closer to the early pace than he usually prefers. The multiple graded stakes winner is proven at this distance (11-3-3-0 record) and teams up with Joel Rosario, one of the nation’s best closing jockeys.
6. Gregorian Chant 20/1 – D’Amato’s third entry will try running beyond 1 1/8 miles for the first time in his career after mostly competing in 1-mile turf routes. He earned a career-best 94 Beyer Speed Figure for finishing third in the Lure Stakes at Santa Anita Park last time out, but it won’t be easy tackling 1 1/2 miles for the first time while facing some who love distance.
7. Acclimate 12/1 – The fourth runner for D’Amato makes his first appearance since finishing ninth in the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Turf. He wired the 2019 Del Mar Handicap (G2) and nearly did the same thing in the John Henry Turf Championship Stakes (G2) in his next start. The nearly 13-month layoff is concerning, but D’Amato runners win 15% after taking similar breaks.
8. Laccario 3/1 – The German-bred colt compiled an 8-4-2-1 record in the Fatherland, including winning a Group 1 at this distance, before shipping stateside this past summer to join trainer Graham Motion. He rallied to a runner-up effort while making his American debut in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) behind Breeders’ Cup Turf third-place runner Channel Maker.
9. Ward ‘n Jerry 20/1 – The honest 7-year-old California-bred gelding finished third by a neck and a head in last year’s running, then won the 1 1/2-mile San Luis Rey Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita Park 2 starts later. He couldn’t hold his form during the summer, hitting the board just once in 3 tries against similar competition, and was most recently eighth in the Del Mar Handicap.
10. Proud Pedro 20/1 – The 4-year-old French-bred colt has developed nicely in 2020, progressing in nearly every start and excelling as the distances got longer. Though he’s yet to try 1 1/2 miles, he’s won twice going slightly shorter and missed by 1 length in the Del Mar Handicap. He posted a bullet best-of-47 work on November 21, covering 4 furlongs in 47 seconds flat.
11. Marckie’s Water 30/1 – He missed nearly 14 months of action before re-emerging for new trainer Peter Eurton on October 9, when he trailed throughout before finishing last of eight against optional claimers while going 1 1/8 miles at Santa Anita Park. Eurton is 0-for-10 with runners in second starts after layoffs of at least 1 year, but he did have a stablemate finish second earlier this month, albeit against optional claimers.
12. Another Mystery 10/1 – He returns from a short hiatus after finishing a rallying third in September’s John Henry Turf Championship Stakes (G2), missing second by just a neck as a 61/1 longshot. It’s worth noting that while his last victory came back in January, the John Henry was only his second start for current trainer Michael McCarthy, who’s winning at 20% this year.
13. Tartini (Also Eligible) 30/1 – The first of a pair on the outside of the field looking in, he’s looking for his debut for new trainer Mark Glatt. Earlier in his career, he was talented enough to warrant a start at the prestigious Royal Ascot meet in 2017 (finishing 16th in the King George V Stakes), but that was early in a 20-race losing streak that mostly came at lower levels.
14. Fivestar Lynch (Also Eligible) 30/1 – The second outsider needs at least two rivals to scratch in order to make this his first start since wiring optional claimers while going 1 1/8 miles over this turf in September. Like the pair drawn on the rail, he hails from the local Baltas barn, so if either of his stablemates scratch in order for him to run, it could be a sign that he’s live.
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