10/27/2010 2:40PM

Enriched tops five horses in seven Cal Cup stakes for O'Neill

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Benoit & Associates
Enriched, who will run in the featured Classic, is among five horses trainer Doug O'Neill has for seven stakes on Saturday's California Cup program at Hollywood Park.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Trainer Doug O’Neill’s best chance in Saturday’s California Cup program at Hollywood Park is arguably Enriched in the $150,000 Classic, the richest of 10 races on the card.

By the time Enriched starts, O’Neill may already have had a successful day. Wednesday morning, as entries were being compiled, the trainer projected that he would have five starters in the seven stakes. The other races on the programs are for maidens.

O’Neill will run Pop’shands Are Hot in the $100,000 Mile on turf, Tiz Smoke Tiz Fire in the $100,000 Matron for females over 1 1/16 miles, California Nectar in the $75,000 Juvenile Fillies over 1 1/16 miles, and Jailbird Jimmy in the $75,000 Juvenile over 1 1/16 miles.

Enriched won the Grade 2 Del Mar Mile on turf on Aug. 28, and was third in the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap on a Polytrack synthetic surface a month earlier at Del Mar. Those races give O’Neill confidence that the 5-year-old Enriched can handle the Cushion Track brand synthetic surface at Hollywood Park on Saturday.

The Classic field includes Cayambe, the winner of the Ralph Hinds Pomona Invitational at Fairplex Park; Soul Candy, who was fifth in the Del Mar Handicap on turf in August; and Unusual Suspect, who has placed in five stakes this year but is winless in 12 starts.

As for Pop’shands Are Hot, O’Neill stopped just short of predicting an upset in a race that features the 2010 stakes winners Bruce’s Dream and Liberian Freighter and the stakes-placed runner Colgan’s Chip. Pop’shands Are Hot was third, beaten a neck, in an optional claimer for statebreds at Del Mar on Sept. 1.

“I thought he ran a bang-up race last time,” O’Neill said. “The distance is perfect and [jockey Corey] Nakatani is back up on him.”

The Matron field is led by the multiple stakes winner Lady Railrider, while the $100,000 Distaff over six furlongs on turf features 2009 Cal Cup Juvenile Fillies winner La Nez.

The $100,000 Sprint over six furlongs will have a small field, including the multiple graded stakes winner Cost of Freedom, who was considered for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Churchill Downs on Nov. 6. He will face Goggles McCoy, who has won 4 of 5 starts, including the Real Good Deal Stakes for statebred sprinters at Del Mar during the summer.

The juvenile races lack standouts, which is why O’Neill is encouraged that the maiden race winner California Nectar can be a factor in the fillies division. She won a six-furlong maiden race for statebreds on Oct. 3 in her third career start.

“She should have no problem with the two turns,” O’Neill said.