05/22/2013 3:58PM

Hollywood Park: Lucayan making U.S. debut in American

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. – The only horse in Saturday’s $150,000 American Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park to win at the highest level on turf will not be favored in the one-mile grass race.

Lucayan, who won the Group 1 French 2000 Guineas in Paris last May, makes his United States debut in the Grade 2 American Handicap for trainer Neil Drysdale.

But the role of favorite will go to Obviously, the 121-pound topweight, who won two Grade 2 races last year and was third in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita last November behind Horse of the Year Wise Dan. Obviously was second in his first start of 2013, the Grade 3 San Simeon Handicap on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita on April 20.

The American will be Lucayan’s first start since the colt finished last of eight in the Grade 2 Prix Daniel Wildenstein at Longchamp last October. He has been with Drysdale since last winter.

“He might need a run,” Drysdale said.

Owned by Pandora Stud, Lucayan has won 3 of 8 starts and $405,275. He was entered in an allowance race at Hollywood Park on May 2, but was scratched because of a minor setback, Drysdale said.

“He had a bit of a foot problem,” Drysdale said.

Lucayan won three of his first five career starts, but was well beaten in his final three starts in Europe. He won a minor stakes in Toulouse, France, in April 2012 before the 27-1 surprise win in the French 2000 Guineas. That was his most recent win.

Trained last year by Francois Rohaut, Lucayan was later ninth in the Group 1 St. James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot in England. In the fall, Lucayan was fifth in a Group 3 at Longchamp before the disappointing race in the Prix Daniel Wildenstein.

By the Irish-bred stallion Turtle Bowl, Lucayan began workouts for Drysdale in February and had a quick six furlongs on turf here in 1:14 here on May 5.

“He’s come to hand very well,” Drysdale said. “I’m pleased with him.”

Julien Leparoux will ride Lucayan in the American Handicap, which has a field of six.

Other runners are Chosen Miracle, third in the San Simeon; Barocci, a Japanese-bred and stakes winner in France in 2011 who won an optional claimer here on April 28; Drill, a three-time stakes winner who was fourth in the San Simeon; and Racing Aptitude, unraced since winning an optional claimer on turf at Del Mar last August.

Bob Baffert trains Drill and Racing Aptitude. Drill won the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity on the synthetic main track there in September 2011.

Ted More than 1 year ago
Where is everyone getting that Obviously has no heart? He is blazing fan. Most horses running against Wise Dan will appear to have no heart. Last race was needed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A blazing fan seems counterintuitive. Not likely to keep anyone very cool. ;) Seriously, Obviously is fast but this will be a test for him. In this field Chosen Miracle at least has the speed to keep the pressure on upfront and Bejarano has opted for perennial disappointment Drill (or Baffert depending upon how you read it, despite his great success riding for Hollendorfer) and might be enough rider to get the horse up in time. Drysdale is a champ at waiting until a horse is ready and you have to think it's a good sign that he opted to start Lucayan here for his US debut rather than spot him in another allowance tune-up. Interesting race.
Jordan More than 1 year ago
Key is how Chosen Miracle and Racing Aptitude will be ridden. They could pose some early problems for Obviously if Talamo rides Obviously like he did in the BC Mile or Arroyo Seco; in those 2 races, Talamo tried to restrain Obviously slightly and save a little more for the stretch. A slightly slower pace could allow Chosen Miracle and Racing Aptitude to stay close to Obviously early and maintain mental pressure. Most likely, it won't matter how Talamo rides Obviously against this field. But in the Shoemaker, I really hope Talamo doesn't try to restrain Obviously because he's not going to outkick legit grade 1 horses. Obviously was never going to win the BC Mile with Wise Dan only a length behind on the far turn; Obviously was never going to outkick Wise Dan. The way I would like to see Obviously ridden is to let him open up early and dare anyone to go with him or make an early run. Obviously has sprinter speed that he can carry up to a mile. That speed needs to be utilized to the fullest, and the best way to do so is just let him fly early. Unlike Oxbow and certain other speed horses, Obviously's best shot to win is not to slow things up as much as possible because that turns it into a sprint for home and Obviously simply doesn't have the closing kick to outfinish elite turf runners.
Dick More than 1 year ago
Neil Drysdale has this horse ready to win.... Obvously, has no fight in him. I got 5K.... On Neil's horse...
Lenny Mamola More than 1 year ago
Obviously had his tightner and it was great he wins as he pleases now
Dean More than 1 year ago
why not just shut down Hollywood today! Graded race at mile on turf and 6 enter...If this race was NY,, KY or even IL would be 10 easy..Sad when feature race is 3rd of the day!
Lenny Mamola More than 1 year ago
SURE they do not want to give a single for the Pick 6 away also
Mike B More than 1 year ago
They bring the bleeders over from Europe but some still do well here able to run on medications and with trainers who can deal with their bleeders. They claim not to have them in Europe, but they scope hours/days after the race and routinely get the bleeders to the US--where they can run on Lasix and a host of other meds.
Rafael Acosta More than 1 year ago
Catch Obviously and win $ !!
Jerome Moynihan More than 1 year ago
tough beginning for an obviously nice import. OBVIOUSLY will win easy! bet on it.