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Drysdale in midst of week to remember
INGLEWOOD, Calif. - It was all in a day's work for trainer Neil Drysdale on Tuesday at Hollywood Park. Work some horses. Get others ready for major races this weekend. Focus on getting some sleep.
About that sleep. Drysdale spent Monday night on a cot in the hospital room where his wife, bloodstock agent Shawn Dugan, gave birth earlier that day to their first child, a daughter named Lita who came in weighing 8 1/2 pounds and was 20 inches tall. The planned delivery required a 5:30 a.m. arrival at the hospital Monday morning.
"Mom's good. Baby's good. Dad's a bit tired," Drysdale said while accepting congratulations from well-wishers Tuesday morning.
Monday's birth was the biggest event of what will be a big week for Drysdale. He has Becrux and Rob Roy in the Grade 1, $400,000 Citation Handicap on Friday, Sherwood Park in the Grade 3, $150,000 Hollywood Turf Express on Saturday, and Beautyandthebeast in the Grade 1, $500,000 Matriarch Stakes and Obrigado in the Grade 1, $500,000 Hollywood Derby on Sunday.
Becrux comes off a win in the Woodbine Mile. He has won twice and finished second in three starts since being gelded this summer. Drysdale said Barry Irwin, the president of the Team Valor syndicate which co-owns Becrux, "decided to geld the horse, which was a good idea."
"It has helped him both mentally and physically," Drysdale said. "His races since he's been gelded have been very good."
"He's been very consistent," said Drysdale's assistant, John O'Donoghue.
Becrux was not nominated to the Breeders' Cup. Rather than supplement him to the Mile, he was freshened and aimed for the Citation and then a $1.8 million race next month in Hong Kong.
"The Citation was the only prep that really fit in," Drysdale said.
Twelve were entered in the 1o1/16-mile Citation on Tuesday. From the rail out, the field is Hendrix, Rob Roy, Stormin Away, Silent Name, Becrux, Whilly, Courtnall, Cosmonaut, Bravo Maestro, Sweet Return, Ashkal Way, and Three Valleys. Hendrix and Courtnall, both trained by Craig Dollase, are a wagering entry.
Fast Parade heading to Hong Kong
Fast Parade also has received an invitation to a race in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Sprint. Unlike Becrux, however, he will skip this weekend's races at Hollywood Park and go straight to Hong Kong.
"We thought for 10 times the money, we might as well take our best shot," said Peter Miller, who trains Fast Parade.
Fast Parade, who won the Nearctic Stakes at Woodbine and the Green Flash at Del Mar in his last two starts, would have been the 120-pound topweight in the Turf Express. Instead, Osidy, who was second in the Green Flash, will now be the highweight, at 118 pounds.
In addition to Osidy, others expected for the six-furlong Turf Express are Captain Kurt, Charmvictor, In Summation, Man of Illusion, and Sherwood Park. Apalachee Tiger, nominated to the race, was entered in a $40,000 claiming race on Friday.
Man of Illusion worked three furlongs in 36 seconds on Monday at Hollywood Park.
Selvatica keeps rolling
Selvatica was under consideration for the Matriarch by trainer Jeff Mullins, but he opted instead to run her in the Manta Stakes on Friday night, and she responded with yet another victory.
"When that race came up, it was a no-brainer," Mullins said.
Selvatica, 5, has won 6 times in 9 starts, but has yet to win a graded stakes. Mullins said that will be her goal early at the Santa Anita meeting that begins Dec. 26.
"She's the true definition of an alpha female," Mullins said. "She's like having a stud. She's built like a horse, acts like a colt, wants no one around her."
Double Major faster than expected
Trainer Cliff Sise has high hopes for Double Major, who scored a 12-1 upset victory when making her debut against 2-year-old California-bred fillies on Saturday. Double Major, by Bertrando, prompted the pace and then drew away to a 1 3/4-length victory going six furlongs.
"The only thing that shocked me is we didn't think she was that fast," Sise said. "We knew she had some ability. But we thought she just wanted to go long."
Sise said he would look for a first-level allowance at the end of the meet for Double Major's next start.
Migliore home for the holiday
Jockey Richard Migliore left California on Tuesday for a brief visit to New York, where he was to ride Afrashad in the Fall Highweight Handicap at Aqueduct on Thursday and spend time with his family before returning here Friday.
Migliore, who has to watch his weight, likes the tradition of the Fall Highweight, but wishes it were run on a different day.
"It should be the day after Thanksgiving," Migliore said. "That way the jocks can eat. I'll do what I always do on Thanksgiving - watch everybody eat."
* Hollywood Park's Cushion Track surface was back to normal on Monday and Tuesday following extensive work on it Sunday morning, which caused a delay to that day's races. There were 169 works on Monday and another 150 on Tuesday.
o Among the workers on Tuesday was Mirabilis, who zipped six furlongs in 1:11.60 in her final drill for the Matriarch.
* Cambiocorsa is going to bypass the Matriarch and instead face Cal-breds in the $100,000 Cat's Cradle Handicap at 7 1/2 furlongs on the main track on Friday.
* Hollywood Derby runners Ivan Denisovich and Vega's Lord arrived Monday from Europe and were expected to clear quarantine on Wednesday. Showing Up, the likely favorite for the derby, was expected to arrive from New York on Tuesday on a flight that also was to include Citation runner Ashkal Way.
* Stormello, the Norfolk Stakes winner, worked six furlongs in 1:15.20 on Tuesday at Hollywood Park. Stormello is expected to make his next start in the Grade 1 Hollywood Futurity on Dec. 16.
* E Z Warrior, who won the Hollywood Juvenile Championship in the summer, worked six furlongs in 1:11.20 on Tuesday morning at Santa Anita as he nears a comeback for trainer Bob Baffert.
o Declan's Moon, the 2004 2-year-old champ who has been idle since the summer, is ready to return to action. He worked a mile in 1:40 on Tuesday at Hollywood Park for trainer Ron Ellis.