06/14/2012 4:11PM

Hollywood Park: Amarish making stakes debut in Willard Proctor

Shigeki Kikkawa
Amarish, with Edwin Maldonado riding, wins his racing debut by 7 3/4 lengths.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – When the 2-year-old gelding Amarish won his debut in a maiden race by 7 3/4 lengths at Betfair Hollywood Park on May 26, the victory confirmed the high regard that trainer Jeff Bonde formed back in March.

“I never gave $200,00 for a gelding in my life,” Bonde said.

Owned by Jerry Durant, Amarish makes his stakes debut in Saturday’s $100,000 Willard Proctor Memorial Stakes over 5 1/2 furlongs. Later on the program, the $100,000 Cinderella Stakes provides the first stakes opportunity of the year for 2-year-old fillies.

Amarish, by Scat Daddy, is part of a field of eight in the Proctor and will be favored. He led throughout his maiden race win under jockey Edwin Maldonado, who retains the mount on Saturday. Amarish is likely to be in front in the Proctor.

“It depends on how fast they want to go,” Bonde said. “I’m not concerned about it.

“He’s very athletic. Scat Daddys are doing well. Everything is pointing up.”

The Proctor field includes five winners, two maidens, and a first-time starter in Forest Boy. Trainer John Sadler said on Thursday that Forest Boy is likely to be scratched in favor of a maiden race on the weekend of June 23-24.

Aside from Amarish, the list of maiden race winners includes Undrafted, a gelding by Purim, who won a race over 4 1-2 furlongs at Keeneland by three lengths on April 26. Trained by Wesley Ward, Undrafted has not started since his win.

Just Call Me Al, a maiden race winner on May 6, will be ridden by leading jockey Rafael Bejarano.

*There are three fillies by the California-based stallion Awesome Gambler in the Cinderella Stakes, Saturday’s seventh race.

Walther Solis trains the maiden race winner Awe Golly Molly and the maiden Awesome Annie, while Gary Sherlock starts the maiden race winner Awe’ Some Kitten.

Awe’ Some Kitten was third to Awe Golly Molly in a maiden race over 4 1/2 furlongs on April 26 and returned to win a maiden race over that distance by 2 3/4 lengths on May 17.

Sherlock said the added furlong of the Cinderella is key for a speedy filly such as Awe’ Some Kitten.

“I don’t think she has to move forward,” Sherlock said. “I think she has to stretch out. When you’ve got a bunch of 2-year-olds, you have to see who relaxes and who goes. She’ll go to the front.

Last time, she went to the front and was relaxed.”

Awesome Annie is a maiden after two starts, and was beaten by Cinderella entrant Tilde in a race over 4 1/2 furlongs on May 20. Solis considered that race as good as a victory when planning Awesome Annie’s campaign for June.

“As a maiden, she ran better numbers than some winners,” he said. “I was debating whether to run her [in a maiden race]. If she won that last race, she would have gone to the stakes.”

Bonde has a leading contender in Unusual Way, who won over 4 1/2 furlongs on May 5 by 2 1/4 lengths, beating Awesome Annie in the career debut for both fillies.