Although live racing doesn't begin at Hollywood Park until 7 tonight, fans will be able to wager at the casino--without an admission charge--on five stakes from Churchill Downs today.
The highlight of the day in Louisville is the $500,000 Kentucky Oaks, which will bring Glitter Woman, Sharp Cat and Blushing K.D. together for the first time, and it will be the final race simulcast locally with post scheduled for 2:45 p.m.
The first of the five stakes, the $58,400 Open Mind, goes at 11:50 a.m. and will be followed by the $100,000 Churchill Downs Turf Sprint, the $200,000 Louisville Breeders' Cup Handicap and the $100,000 Crown Royal American Turf before the Oaks.
Early-bird wagering--in the Hollywood Park casino--begins at 7:30 a.m. and will continue until 2 p.m. Simulcasts from Woodbine in Toronto will also be included. That card begins at 9:55 a.m.
The last two afternoons at Hollywood Park have been days of firsts.
On Wednesday, apprentice jockey J.C. Gonzalez rode the first winner of his career when East Peak scored a $23.40 upset in the fifth race. In the next race, trainer Nick Canani, the son of longtime trainer Julio Canani, got the first win of his brief career when favored Zero Henry won by nearly three lengths.
On Thursday, another apprentice, J.G. Matos, rode to his first victory in this country, directing favored Fly Home to the gelding's 10th win in 18 starts. Matos began riding in Puerto Rico in January and won 13 races there, according to his agent, Tony Matos.
Urgent Request, who scored the biggest win of his career in the 1995 Santa Anita Handicap, has been retired because of ligament problems in his right hind leg.
Owned by Stewart Aitken, who bet $90,000 to win on him the day he beat Best Pal in the Big 'Cap, Urgent Request finished his career with seven wins in 25 starts and earned $1,051,953.
Trained in this country by the late Rodney Rash when he won the Santa Anita Handicap and later by Ben Cecil and Charlie Whittingham, the 7-year-old gray son of Rainbow Quest scored his last victory in the Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile last October 5.
Fly Out Of Debt, unbeaten in three starts, is favored to keep his streak intact against nine other 3-year-olds in the $122,320 El Primero Del Ano Derby tonight at Los Alamitos. It will go as the eighth on the nine-race card, which begins at 7:15 p.m.
Trained by Charlie Bloomquist for owner George Haddad, the chestnut son of Strawfly Spectial easily won his trial heat for the derby, which is run at 400 yards. John Creager will again ride.
Rounding out the field are Macs Ease, Pay The Man Cash, Looking Like Adam, Yuubachan and the five-horse entry owned by Ed Allred--Jungle Drums, Fourth And Two, Alamitos Score, Secret Seraph and Don Callender.
Horse Racing Notes
The gates at Hollywood Park will open at 8:45 a.m. Saturday, and the first of the eight Churchill Down simulcasts that day, the $50,000 Northern Dancer, will go at 9:20 a.m. . . . Jockeys Corey Nakatani and Eddie Delahoussaye each won twice Thursday.