06/02/2013 3:15PM

Hollywood Park: Californian trifecta eyes Hollywood Gold Cup

Benoit & Associates
Clubhouse Ride at jockey Garrett Gomez won the Grade 2 Californian Stakes on Saturday.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Clubhouse Ride, Liaison, and Oilisblackgold – the first three finishers of Saturday’s $150,500 Californian Stakes – are bound for the $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 6, their trainers said.

Clubhouse Ride, a 5-year-old horse trained by Craig Lewis, took the Grade 2 Californian by 2 1/4 lengths over Liaison for his first graded stakes win in his 28th career start.

Ridden by Garrett Gomez, Clubhouse Ride ($8) stalked pacesetters Batti Man and Blueskiesnrainbows for the first six furlongs before taking the lead on the turn. He sustained the run through the stretch to win comfortably.

The Californian was Clubhouse Ride’s first start since a second to top handicap horse Game On Dude in the $1.5 million Charles Town Classic in West Virginia on April 20.

“He’s been so sharp since we returned from West Virginia,” Lewis said Saturday. “I tried to space his works a little more and slow him down.”

Clubhouse Ride races for Six-S Racing Stable and Nikolas Petralia.

Liaison, who won the Grade 2 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap here May 4, was the even-money favorite in the Californian. Ridden by Martin Garcia, Liaison finished 2 1/4 lengths in front of Oilisblackgold.

Trainer Bob Baffert said Liaison was farther from the front on the backstretch – about seven lengths – than he would have preferred.

“I think [Garcia] thought there was a serious speed duel, but they weren’t going that fast,” Baffert said. “I probably wouldn’t have agreed with the strategy on the backstretch.”

Batti Man and Blueskiesnrainbows set a pace of 24.43 and 48.08 seconds for the first half-mile.