11/09/2012 4:19PM

Hollywood Park notes: Motion preparing another invasion

Email
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.