11/09/2012 4:19PM

Hollywood Park notes: Motion preparing another invasion

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Benoit & Associates
Summer Soiree wins the 2011 Del Mar Oaks.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Trainer Graham Motion almost pulled off the training feat of 2012 last weekend, when Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom nearly won the Breeders’ Cup Mile in making his first start since February. Back home now in Maryland, Motion is gearing up for his next raid of Southern California, and while the stakes won’t be quite as high in a fortnight, Motion, again, will be a force to be reckoned with.

Motion is planning on sending out Summer Soiree for the Matriarch Stakes and Lucky Chappy for the Hollywood Derby, both Grade 1 races to be run Nov. 25, the final day of the Turf Festival at Betfair Hollywood Park. Both worked a half-mile on the turf Friday morning at the Fair Hill training center, and though they did not work together, they received the same time, 51.20 seconds.

“They went on the steeplechase course, which has a steady incline from the quarter pole,” Motion said Friday by telephone.

Summer Soiree was second in last year’s Matriarch to Star Billing. She has raced just twice this year since returning from a lengthy layoff. She was third at Saratoga in the Ballston Spa – which was won by Zagora, who later won the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf – and then Summer Soiree was fourth last time out in the First Lady at Keeneland. Last year, Summer Soiree was fifth in the Queen Elizabeth II at Keeneland before the one-mile Matriarch.

“She doesn’t seem to handle Keeneland. The two worst races in her life have been at Keeneland,” Motion said. “This year, she’s a fresh horse. This will be her third start off the layoff.”

Lucky Chappy is winless in six starts this year. He most recently was seventh in the Kent Stakes at Delaware.

Motion said he also may supplement General Logan, a recent allowance winner at Keeneland, to the Derby.

Dan Eidson, the stakes coordinator at Hollywood Park, said other marquee names expected for the 1 1/4-mile Derby are Golden Ticket, Grandeur, Summer Front, and Unbridled Command.

Tough to see Switch go

For more than three years, one of the constants at trainer John Sadler’s barn was Switch. From the time she made her debut on Dec. 13, 2009, at Hollywood Park, Switch raced 24 times, earned more than $1.4 million, and ran three straight years in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, in which she finished third last weekend behind Groupie Doll and Dust and Diamonds.

That was her last race. On Monday, Switch was sold at auction as a broodmare prospect for $4.3 million to Ireland’s Moyglare Stud, and she is expected to be mated next spring with Galileo, the sire of Frankel.

“It was tough to see her go. It was a lot more emotional with her than any before her,” Larry Benavidez, the longtime assistant to Sadler, said Friday morning.

◗ Just as happened last summer at Del Mar, TVG has taken over the simulcast duties at Hollywood Park. The result here is that the insightful Kurt Hoover is no longer on the simulcast shows, nor hosting the nightly replay show.

◗ A weekly Sunday handicapping contest begins this Sunday. Players must bet a minimum $5 to win and place on the last six races either ontrack or through TVG. The top 20 players each week qualify for the grand finale, which has a $10,000 prize. There is $3,000 in prize money each week. Participants can enter ontrack or through TVG, but can only qualify for the finale once.

Jordan More than 1 year ago
Hollywood Park has 4 gr.1 races during th autumn/winter meet along with the $250k gr.2 Citation, $250k gr.2 Hollywood Turf Cup, and $250k gr.3 Native Diver. Then, Santa Anita has the gr.1 Malibu and gr.1 La Brea. Hopefully, a bunch of Eastern owners and trainers saw during the two days of the BC that the local Cali horses are weak in a number of divisions and there is great opprtunity to win money and graded stakes prestige if willing to ship.
Robert Walton More than 1 year ago
I thought AK was the most impressive horse of all who ran in the BC races.
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
I am so impressed with Animal Kingdom's comeback. Mr. Motion is a fine trainer and he has done a great job guiding the comeback of Animal Kingdom from a very concerning injury. He was hugely hampered with a tough trip during most of the BC Mile. With a clean trip, Animal Kingdom would have won the BC Mile. He was FLYING at the end of the race, was impressive in grabbing the place slot, and simply ran out of real estate before he could catch Wise Dan. If the race had been 1-1/8th miles or 1-1/4 miles he would have totally taken that race. It's exciting to have Animal Kingdom back. I have missed him. Excellent job, Mr. Motion. And good luck in retirement to Switch. May she have a happy retirement and give birth to many beautiful champion horses. She will have an opportunity very early on to give birth to a possible champion in the making, being in foal next year to champion sire, Galileo. Happy motherhood to you, Switch. Enjoy your life and have fun.
TEDK215 More than 1 year ago
im so happy for ak and mr motion and if ak wasnt hampered he would have been pampered, lol. oh ak, im so glad ur back. i really miss u big boy. and good riddence to switch, she will no doubt be impregnated by some nice 25000 claimers, so enjoy urself!
Aaron Hesz More than 1 year ago
It is really pathetic that Hollywood Park turned the simulcast duties over to TVG and Kurt Hoover was let go after all these years as the face of Southern California broadcasting. Likeable, knowledgable, always prepared, a genuinely good person and someone I am proud to call my friend, the bettors who watch the Hollywood Park feed are the unfortunate victims again this time...
pathagan More than 1 year ago
Absolute FACT, Aaron. There's no one out there who's better than Kurt Hoover in what he does and like you alluded to - Kurt is as genuine as they come in ANY walk of life.
Kelly Frazier More than 1 year ago
I would rather watch paint dry than lousy TVG.
Mike Cavanagh More than 1 year ago
You are right at a 1 and 1/16th it might have been a total different story, AK had an awful trip in the mile. Definite lose but more to come for him.
sat.customer More than 1 year ago
AK didn't nearly win the Mile. LOL
Kelly Frazier More than 1 year ago
Watch the replay, with a clean trip, AK wins easy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
yeah he'd of win by 5 and run a mile in 1:30 right? quit writing on these boards if you have no idea about horse racing