Updated on 09/15/2011 2:29PM

Canani gives Val Royal busy itinerary


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - There will be no more wasted time for the Breeders' Cup Mile winner. After 18 months to heal a tendon injury, followed by a seven-month gap that ended with consecutive wins this fall, Val Royal has dived headlong into an ambitious fall campaign that continues - unexpectedly - Saturday at Hollywood Park.

Forsaking plans to await the $1.3 million Hong Kong Mile on Dec. 16, Val Royal's owner David Milch and trainer Julio Canani will wheel back * in the Grade 2 Citation Handicap. The 1 1/16-mile, $500,000 race comes 21 days after Val Royal's Breeders' Cup win, and will mark his third start in six weeks.

That's not all. Canani has not cancelled the Hong Kong trip.

"He may run in both places," Canani said. "The horse is doing great, and if I don't run him in the Citation, I'd have to work him. So, you might as well run him."

Is this any way to treat a Breeders' Cup winner? Canani would know. Val Royal is Canani's second Mile winner, along with 1999 winner Silic. Further, except for Val Royal, the Citation is not too tough. Forbidden Apple, runner-up in the Mile, will not make the trip, leaving Val Royal as the 124-pound highweight and commanding favorite over Irish Prize (122) and El Cielo (120).

The addition of Val Royal provides instant marquee value to the Hollywood's three-day Autumn Turf Festival. It begins Friday with two Grade 3 races - the $200,000 Hollywood Turf Express at 5 1/2 furlongs and the $200,000 Miesque Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at a mile.

The Saturday lineup includes the 1 1/16-mile Citation, and Grade 3, $200,000 Generous for 2-year-olds at a mile. The highlight of the Turf Festival occurs Sunday, with two Grade 1 races worth $500,000 - the Matriarch Stakes for fillies and mares, and the Hollywood Derby for 3-year-olds. Both races are at 1 1/8 miles.

Dollase spots 'Overboard,' El Cielo

Trainer Craig Dollase will split up his crack sprinters El Cielo and Swept Overboard for the Turf Festival. El Cielo will try to stretch his speed two turns Saturday in the Citation, while Swept Overboard will stay short, and run Friday in the Turf Express. Dollase likes his chances in both spots, though he admits El Cielo will have his hands full facing Val Royal.

"I really don't want to run against that horse right now, but it's a heftier purse [$500,000], and he's proven he can get the distance," Dollase said. "If it doesn't work out, we'll go back to the course he loves [Santa Anita]."

El Cielo has been primarily a sprinter throughout his career, though in January at Santa Anita he won a mile turf race at Santa Anita by four lengths in 1:33.32.

In addition to a new distance for El Cielo, Dollase also must find a rider. Regular rider Jose Valdivia is committed to ride Val Royal in the Citation. Corey Nakatani rode El Cielo to victory in the Turf Express last year; Dollase's Turf Express hope this year is Swept Overboard, who was compromised by the bias while finishing fourth in the Breeders' Cup Sprint three weeks ago.

"He never did have a chance to get out," Dollase said, adding "he ran well, we just kind of ran out of ground that day. If it was six and a half..."

The last time Swept Overboard ran on grass, he won the $75,000 Robert Kerlan Handicap at Hollywood Park by more than two lengths. In the Turf Express, Swept Overboard's main rivals will be Nuclear Debate, Blu Air Force, and Texas Glitter.

Frankel runners pay dearly to enter

Bobby Frankel starts nine runners in Turf Festival races, running for $1.9 million in purses in five races.

It was not cheap making them eligible. Seven of the nine had to be supplemented for at least $10,000, and the total supplemental bill for Frankel's owners is a hefty $90,000.

"Some of these these horses weren't even here then," Frankel said, referring to the Aug. 3 nomination deadline. "The whole idea is stupid, having to nominate so early. I talked to [racing officials] at Churchill Downs, and they said they were going to do something about it, but they haven't done anything. We're not talking about million-dollar races here, we're talking about $500,000 races you get any day of the week.

"My horses all have a real good chance, that is the only reason I'm supplementing them. If they were marginal, I wouldn't supplement."

Frankel's seven Turf Festival wins leads all trainers; he has three more than runners-up Richard Mandella, Ron McAnally, and Bill Mott. Frankel's Turf Festival lineup this year includes Blu Air Force and Speak In Passing in the Turf Express; recently imported Nunatall in the Miesque; Decarchy in the Citation; Starine in the Martriarch; and four in the Derby - Aldebaran, Blue Steller, Denon, and Mizzen Mast.

Frankel said You continues to train well, and is on schedule for the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet Dec. 16, while Labamta Babe, third-place finisher in the Prevue, will take on Siphonic and Officer in the Grade 1 Hollywood Futurity on Dec. 15.

Trainer baffled by Roman Dancer

Roman Dancer, a dull sixth as the 7-5 favorite Saturday in the Prevue, came out of the race fine, though the effort perplexes Roman Dancer's trainer, Chris Paasch.

"Either he bounced off the 107 Beyer, or he didn't get a hold of the track, it has to be one of those two things," Paasch said.

A son of Polish Numbers, Roman Dancer will be freshened and point for the Grade 3 Baldwin Stakes, a turf sprint, on Feb. 24 at Santa Anita.

Meanwhile, Paasch was happy with the Moccasin runner-up finish by Ponche De Leona.

"I think the 12-post got her beat, she was at least eight or nine wide on the backside, and six wide on the turn."

Ponche De Leona will be supplemented into the Starlet.

Collect Call is two weeks away from returning to the track, and will point for the La Canada Series for 4-year-old fillies this winter at Santa Anita, Paasch said.

* Teresa Ann, ninth-place finisher in the $75,000 Moccasin Stakes on Sunday, suffered an entrapped epiglottis during the race. She will undergo minor surgery, and is expected to resurface early in the Santa Anita meet.

* Feverish will have new rider when she meets Queenie Belle on Friday in the Cat's Cradle Handicap. Kent Desormeaux replaces Eddie Delahoussaye.


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