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With Fiji Sidelined, Auntie Mame Now Matriarch Favorite

Hollywood Park: Victory today might close gap in Eclipse award voting for female turf runners.

November 29, 1998|BOB MIESZERSKI | TIMES STAFF WRITER

With Fiji staying in the barn because of a cough earlier in the week, Auntie Mame is the 2-1 favorite in the $700,000 Matriarch today at Hollywood Park.

Trained by Angel Penna Jr. for the Lazy F Ranch, Auntie Mame has won three of six this year and could get some consideration for the Eclipse award as the nation's top female turf performer with an impressive victory. However, Fiji remains the clear front-runner.

See You Soon, who handed Fiji her only loss this year in the Ramona Handicap at Del Mar on Aug. 1, is the 7-2 second choice and Witchful Thinking, who has won four of seven this year while racing in Kentucky, New York and Florida, is 4-1.

Completing the lineup for the 1 1/4-mile race, which will be run on a less-than-firm grass course, are Squeak, Society Dream, Real Connection, Sonja's Faith, Sophie My Love and Green Jewel.

Two races later, Ladies Din, who will be looking for his seventh stakes win of 1998, the most of any horse in California, is the 2-1 favorite against nine other 3-year-olds in the $500,000 Early Times Hollywood Derby.

Trained by Julio Canani for owners Mike Sloan, Terry Lanni and Bernie Schiappa, Ladies Din has consecutive victories in the Oceanside Stakes, La Jolla Handicap, Del Mar Derby and Oak Tree Derby. Gary Stevens will ride the son of Din's Dancer, and all starters in the race will carry 122 pounds.

Dr Fong, who was second to Ladies Din in the Oak Tree Derby in his U.S. debut for trainer Neil Drysdale, is the 5-2 second choice and he will race with blinkers. Kent Desormeaux will again ride the son of Kris S., who won five of eight in Europe.

Completing the field, from the rail out, are Lido, Dixie Dot Com, Mail Coach, Prevalence, Lone Bid, Takarian, Crowd Pleaser and Vergennes.

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Rebounding from a dismal performance in the Breeders' Cup Mile, Military led every step of the way under jockey Garrett Gomez and scored a 9-1 surprise in the $300,000 Citation Handicap Saturday at Hollywood Park.

Owned by Prince Ahmed Salman's Thoroughbred Corp. and trained by Wally Dollase, the 4-year-old Danzig colt took to a turf course softened by rain and won by 2 1/2 lengths over 29-1 longshot Mr Lightfoot in 1:50 2/5 for the 1 1/8 miles.

Beaten by nearly 22 lengths by Da Hoss in the Breeders' Cup Mile, Military won for the fourth time in six starts in this country while Hawksley Hill, who was second, beaten by a neck in the BC Mile, struggled and wound up seventh of eight as the 9-10 favorite.

"He just couldn't handle the surface," said Neil Drysdale, Hawksley Hill's trainer. "He was floundering all over it. He really tried hard and we'll give him a well-deserved break now."

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Making 1-2 look like a gift, Incurable Optimist remained perfect in four starts on the turf with a nine-length victory in the $250,000 Generous Stakes at Hollywood Park.

Owned by John and Theresa Behrendt and trained by David Donk, Incurable Optimist saved ground throughout, moved to the lead along the rail around the far turn and from there the final margin was the only question.

Ridden by John Velasquez, the Cure The Blues colt completed the mile on a turf course labeled good in 1:37 3/5. Company Approval, a 17-1 shot, rallied for second, half a length in front of 19-1 shot Brave Gun.

*

Trainer Bob Baffert capped a big two days in Kentucky with two expected stakes wins Saturday at Churchill Downs.

Following Silver Charm's thrilling win in the Clark Handicap on Friday, Baffert took the $200,000 Golden Rod Stakes with heavily favored Silverbulletday and the $200,000 Brown and Williamson Kentucky Jockey Club with favored Exploit.

Three weeks after winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies over the same surface, Silverbulletday, the 1-9 favorite, easily dusted her five rivals under Stevens.

The win was the sixth in seven starts for the daughter of Silver Deputy, who is owned by Mike Pegram. She completed the 1 1/16 miles in a stakes-record 1:43 4/5.

Making his first start around two turns, Exploit, a son of Storm Cat, remained unbeaten in four races for owners Bob and Beverly Lewis, winning in 1:44 for 1 1/16 miles under jockey Chris McCarron.

Horse Racing Notes

Sir Bear, an 8-1 longshot, rallied late under Jerry Bailey to beat Affirmed Success in the $300,000 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct. Coronado's Quest, the favorite, was off the board under Kent Desormeaux in his final career start. . . . Earlier at Aqueduct, Comeonmom scored a $61 surprise in the $200,000 Remsen. Robert Barbara trains the son of Jolie's Halo for Sabine Stable and Comeonmom, who ran the 1 1/8 miles in 1:49 4/5, was ridden by Joe Bravo. . . . The superfecta in the Citation Handicap was worth $14,608.60. Military and Mr Lightfoot ran 1-2 and 34-1 Worldly Ways was third and 17-1 Joe Who was fourth.

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