09/11/2008 11:00PM

Breathing room for juvenile stakes


The $1.75 million Turf Festival remains the centerpiece of the Hollywood Park autumn meet, which begins Oct. 29. But one additional week of racing this year - eight weeks through Dec. 21 - has allowed racing secretary Martin Panza to constructively tweak the timing of the jam-packed 2-year-old stakes program.

Eight stakes for 2-year-olds are run each fall at Hollywood, and when the meet is seven weeks long (every other year), the program sometimes trips over itself. Not this time.

"We run eight weeks this year, and it gives me more time to space the 2-year-old races out," Panza said.

The richest race of the meet is the $750,000 CashCall Futurity for 2-year-olds on Dec. 20. The new timing this year allows horses to prep in one, or both, route stakes that lead to the 1 1/16-mile Futurity and its filly equivalent, the $250,000 Hollywood Starlet on Dec. 14.

Panza repositioned two $100,000 two-turn stakes to earlier in the meet. The Sharp Cat for fillies is Nov. 1; the Real Quiet is Nov. 8. After those main-track races, two Grade 3 turf routes for 2-year-olds are the Miesque for fillies on Nov. 28, and the Generous on Nov. 29. Panza hopes the additional time from the Sharp Cat and Real Quiet to the Miesque and Generous can enhance the Starlet and Futurity.

Two seven-furlong sprints for 2-year-olds are the $100,000 Moccasin for fillies on Nov. 16, and the Grade 3 Hollywood Prevue on Nov. 23.

Three Grade 1 grass races highlight the three-day Turf Festival - the $400,000 Citation on Nov. 28, and the $500,000 Matriarch and $500,000 Hollywood Derby on Nov. 30.

Two new $65,000 stakes for fillies and mares will be run early in the meet - the Dance in the Mood for turf sprinters Oct. 29, and the 1 1/16-mile It's in the Air Stakes on Nov. 2. The 40-day meet ends Dec. 21.