07/15/2011 2:39PM

Hollywood Park: Majestic City gets test in Hollywood Juvenile

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Benoit & Associates
Majestic City will be favored to remain unbeaten in Sunday's Grade 3 Hollywood Juvenile at Hollywood Park.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Now that unbeaten Majestic City has risen to top of the 2-year-old division in Southern California, his challenge is to stay there.

On Sunday at Hollywood Park, the unbeaten colt is favored to win the Grade 3 Hollywood Juvenile, a six-furlong race with predictable recent history – favorites have won 16 of the past 20 Juveniles. Yet the $100,000 race is not a walkover for Majestic City.

“It’s definitely a tougher field, but I think he’s up to it,” trainer Peter Miller said.

Majestic City earned the fastest Beyer Speed Figures by a 2-year-old at the meet – 88 first out, followed by 84 in the Willard Proctor Stakes on June 12.

While none of his rivals have come close to those numbers yet, impressive debut winner Night Tide is likely to narrow the gap. Night Tide won his debut by a half-length with a 75 Beyer, even though he was not completely cranked up.

“He had never worked in company and only had one gate work,” trainer Bob Baffert said.

Since then, Night Tide has two big works – seven furlongs July 5 recorded as five-eighths and a six-furlong gate work July 10 also recorded as five-eighths.

“Going from 4 1/2 [furlongs] to three-quarters, I want to make sure I have him ready,” Baffert said.

He also entered highly regarded Brigand, recent debut winner with a 67 Beyer.

The eight-horse Juvenile field includes Pend Oreille, a 64 Beyer debut winner April 30 over California-breds; Ruler of Dubai, Rino S, and two maidens – Super Candy and He’s a Bandit.

Majestic City has undergone a minor ownership change since he last raced. He is now owned by an eight-partner group managed by Jeff Bloom, who bought out a former partner, Mike Shustek.

David Flores rides Majestic City, who breaks from the outside post.

“The draw is good,” Miller said. “There is speed inside. If someone wants the lead, we can sit just outside.”

Majestic City, by City Zip, is expected to continue his summer campaign at Del Mar in the Grade 2 Best Pal on Aug. 7 and Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 7.

Martin Garcia rides Night Tide, a son of Malibu Moon that is “built like a tank,” according to Baffert. It has been one month since his half-length debut victory.

“Now I can have two races into him going into Del Mar or Saratoga,” Baffert said.

Summer plans have not been finalized for Baffert, who may have horses stabled at Del Mar and Saratoga. While the Malibu Moon colt Night Tide is more precocious than Baffert-trained Brigand, Baffert believes Brigand will improve when distances increase.

“He is a very good horse,” Baffert declared, while recognizing his debut victory was moderate. “I’m glad he won, but I was disappointed in the way he won.”

Brigand won by a nose with a 67 Beyer.

Baffert believes Brigand, by Flatter, wants a longer distance and a different strategy.

“He’s a horse that will be more effective off the pace,” Baffert said.

Joel Rosario rides Brigand.