07/02/2012 3:37PM

Hollywood Park: Swaps looking like graded prep for Nonios, others


INGLEWOOD, Calif. – The top 3-year-olds in California will soon hit the road, but not until a final local appearance at Betfair Hollywood Park.

The retired Kentucky Derby winner I’ll Have Another will parade between races on Saturday, and later leave for stud duty in Japan.

Santa Anita-based Bodemeister and Paynter will aim for rich races in the East without a local start.

The Grade 2 Swaps Stakes on Wednesday at Hollywood is a potential farewell also for Nonios and Liaison, one-two last month in the Grade 3 Affirmed. They meet Rousing Sermon and improving Called to Serve in the 1 1/8-mile Swaps, a $150,000 race on the Hollywood main track that has been relegated to prep-race status.

“This race will get you ready to ship,” said Jerry Hollendorfer’s assistant trainer Dan Ward. “There are three races within a week – the Jim Dandy for $600,000, the Haskell for $1 million, and the West Virginia Derby for $750,000. This race will set them up.”

Hollendorfer and Ward start Nonios and Rousing Sermon in the Swaps. A good effort could lead to better money elsewhere in 1 1/8-mile dirt races for 3-year-olds – the Jim Dandy at Saratoga on July 28, the Haskell at Monmouth on July 29, or West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Park on Aug. 4.

Until California addresses the summer void of main-track stakes for 3-year-olds, the Swaps effectively ends the season. “When you get to Del Mar, you have to run on turf,” Ward said.

That is the plan for Swaps nominee Holy Candy. “We were looking at the Swaps and the Oceanside,” trainer John Sadler said. “We could do either, and he’d be liked in either spot. We wanted to try turf with him.” Holy Candy runs on turf in the $100,000 Oceanside on July 18, opening day at Del Mar.

Meanwhile, the Swaps will provide Nonios an opportunity to authenticate his 15-1 upset in the Affirmed. In that 1 1/16-mile arace, he defeated Liaison by a half-length, and was drawing away late.

“I really like his last race, and the gallop-out . . . they still haven’t caught him,” Ward said. “He’s bred to run as far as they write them.”

Sired by Pleasantly Perfect, out of a Touch Gold mare, Nonios got a late start to his career. His first start was in February.

“He seemed like he wasn’t going to be a 2-year-old. He wasn’t as fast growing up behind as front, so we sent him out,” Ward said.

Nonios won his debut, improved with each successive start, and will enter the Swaps with a 3-for-4 record. Martin Pedroza rides.

Rousing Sermon is the second Hollendorfer entrant, racing for the first time since he finished eighth in the Kentucky Derby. “We decided to point him for the last six months of the year,” Ward said. “He’s doing well.”

Mike Smith rides Rousing Sermon, 2 for 10 and runner-up to Liaison in the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity at Hollywood in December.

Called to Serve has won twice since he was gelded, including a fast allowance against older. “He was almost impossible to handle,” trainer Pete Eurton said. “Now that he is castrated, he moves better, he is more manageable, he enjoys training and shows more of his athleticism.”

Garrett Gomez rides Called to Serve.

Baffert will seek a record fifth win in the Swaps with late-runner Liaison and potential lone front-runner Blueskiesnrainbows. Empire Way and All Squared Away also entered the Swaps, race 7 on an eight-race card.