05/29/2013 3:17PM

Hollywood Park: Oilisblackgold using Californian as Gold Cup springboard

Shigeki Kikkawa
Oilisblackgold, winning a Santa Anita optional claimer in February, runs Saturday in the Grade 2 Californian, then perhaps in the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Trainer Craig Dollase has a reminder every day of his victory in the 2010 Hollywood Gold Cup. Awesome Gem, who won the race as a 7-year-old, is a pony at Dollase’s barn at Betfair Hollywood Park.

The $500,000 Gold Cup is July 6 and is the richest race of the spring-summer meeting. Dollase hopes to have another veteran in the race – the 6-year-old gelding Oilisblackgold.

A winner of 3 of 25 starts and $238,240, Oilisblackgold has yet to win a stakes, an omission that Dollase hopes to correct in Saturday’s $150,000 Californian Stakes over 1 1/8 miles. The Grade 2 Californian will be Oilisblackgold’s first start since a second in the Grade 3 Tokyo City Cup over 1 1/2 miles at Santa Anita on March 23.

“We’re sitting on go,” Dollase said Wednesday morning. “Hopefully, we can get to the Gold Cup.”

Oilisblackgold beat maidens as a 3-year-old in his second start way back in 2010 at Fairplex Park, but did not win again until last September in an optional claimer at Fairplex Park, his 22nd start. That race was the first of four starts that included two wins, including an optional claimer at Santa Anita in February and the first stakes placing for Oilisblackgold in the Tokyo City.

[CALIFORNIAN STAKES: Get PPs, watch Saturday's full card live]

Those races were on dirt tracks, a slight concern for Dollase in advance of Saturday’s synthetic-track race.

“He has excellent dirt form,” Dollase said. “He won a race at Pomona, won at Santa Anita, and was second in the Tokyo City. I hope that continues.”

Oilisblackgold, who races for Class Racing Stable, has never run in a stakes at Hollywood Park. In five starts on the main track here, he has three seconds and a third.

Edwin Maldonado, who was aboard for the Tokyo City Cup and the February win, has the mount Saturday.

The Californian has a projected field of seven. The race is expected to be led by Liaison, who won the Grade 2 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap here over 1 1/16 miles on May 4 for his fourth stakes win, and Clubhouse Ride, who was second to Game On Dude in the Santa Anita Handicap on March 2 and the Charles Town Classic in West Virginia on April 20.