12/08/2012 2:00PM

Hollywood Park: Bourbon Bay to race next year at age 7

Barbara D. Livingston
Bourbon Bay will return to the races in Saturday's Hollywood Turf Cup.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Bourbon Bay, the veteran turf marathoner, is likely to follow a familiar schedule this winter and into the spring.

A 6-year-old, Bourbon Bay makes his first start after a two-month break in Saturday’s $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup at Betfair Hollywood Park, a prelude to the turf distance stakes at Santa Anita over the winter and early spring.

If last season is any indication, Bourbon Bay will have to be respected throughout the upcoming season.

After a second in the 2011 Turf Cup, Bourbon Bay won two Grade  2 stakes at Santa Anita earlier this year – the San Luis Rey Stakes and San Juan Capistrano Handicap. Those races are part of his schedule for early 2013.

“Hopefully, he has another year of racing in him,” trainer Neil Drysdale said. “We can give him three races and then give him a breather.”

Later in the spring, Bourbon Bay is expected to have a break before resuming racing next summer.

Owned by David Heerensperger, Bourbon Bay has won 9 of 27 starts and $968,536. A top two finish in the Grade 2 Turf Cup will put Bourbon Bay over $1 million in career earnings. A win would be the eighth of his career in a stakes, which began in 2008.

Bourbon Bay has made one start this fall, finishing eighth in the Grade 2 John Henry Turf Championship at Santa Anita on Sept. 30. A start in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita on Nov. 3 was briefly considered, but Drysdale pulled Bourbon Bay from the race after saying the gelding did not work to his satisfaction in late October.

In recent weeks, Bourbon Bay has worked on the main track at Hollywood Park.

“He’s very comfortable,” Drysdale said. “He’s doing well.”

The field for the Turf Cup will include the 3-year-old Grandeur, who won the Grade 2 Twilight Derby at Santa Anita on Nov. 2, and was a fast-closing second in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby on Nov. 25; and Kindergarden Kid and Optimizer, who were sixth and 11th in the BC Turf.

Optimizer, trained by D. Wayne Lukas, was a troubled fifth in the Grade 3 River City Handicap at Churchill Downs on Nov. 25, losing by 1 1/2 lengths.

CashCall highlight of week

The Turf Cup is the second-richest race on Saturday’s program. The card is highlighted by the $750,000 CashCall Futurity over 1 1/16 miles.

He’s Had Enough, the runner-up in the BC Juvenile on Nov. 3, is expected to go favored.

Saturday, Gabriel Charles, the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint Preview last month, worked five furlongs in 1:00.40 at Hollywood Park. Trained by Jeff Mullins, Gabriel Charles must be supplemented to the CashCall Futurity for $30,000.

Heir Kitty will dodge Beholder

Heir Kitty, the comfortable winner of an allowance race on Friday, is bound for a stakes in January, but one to be determined later.

Trainer Peter Miller said on Saturday that he is reluctant to start Heir Kitty in the $150,000 Santa Ynez Stakes for 3-year-old fillies over 6 1/2 furlongs on Jan. 21, hoping to avoid a matchup with Beholder, the winner of the BC Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita on Nov. 2.

Another option would be the $100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes over 1 1/16 miles on Jan. 26.

“I probably don’t want to hook Beholder,” Miller said. “If she goes there, I might go another direction.”

Owned by David Bernsen and Paul Makin, Heir Kitty has won 2 of 5 starts and $96,800. She was second against males in the Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar in August, but last of five against males in the Grade 3 Hollywood Prevue Stakes on Nov. 22.

Racing against fillies on Friday, Heir Kitty had an ideal trip under jockey Garrett Gomez. Heir Kitty ($3.80) was last early, circled the field in early stretch and won by 3 1/4 lengths, finishing six furlongs in 1:10.74.

“I was pleased with her performance,” Miller said. “She did get a real nice setup with the fast pace.”