11/16/2012 3:03PM

Hollywood Park: Ultimate Eagle making return in Citation Handicap

Benoit & Associates
Ultimate Eagle will be one of two runners trained by Mike Pender in the Citation Handicap.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Ultimate Eagle, a three-time stakes winner who was the beaten favorite in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap in March, is set to return to racing in the $250,000 Citation Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park on Friday.

Owner B.J. Wright paid a $5,000 supplemental fee on Thursday to make the 4-year-old colt eligible for the Grade 2 Citation over 1 1/16 miles on turf.

Ultimate Eagle will be one of two runners trained by Mike Pender in the Citation. Pender will also start Jeranimo, who won the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile here in June and was sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile behind Wise Dan at Santa Anita on Nov. 3.

Pender said that Ultimate Eagle is not a candidate for a race outside of Southern California.

“As a small barn, the last thing I wanted to do is run both against each other,” Pender said. “The other option is to run in the Cigar Mile, Zia Park, or the All American at Golden Gate. I prefer not to ship the horse.”

Ultimate Eagle won the Oak Tree and Hollywood derbys last fall and the Strub Stakes for 4-year-olds on the main track at Santa Anita in February. In the Santa Anita Handicap on March, Ultimate Eagle was the 2-1 favorite. He was part of a speed duel for the first half-mile and faded to finish 10th.

Ultimate Eagle was taken out of training in early April.

“He didn’t have any injury and we wanted to freshen him up,” Pender said. “He had a hard campaign.

“Our goal is to get him back to top condition and take another shot at the Big Cap.”

The Citation is the first of three $250,000 races at Hollywood Park on Thanksgiving weekend. The Citation field is also expected to include Calimonco, Data Link, Doubles Partner, Interaction, and perhaps Temple’s Door.

Data Link won the Grade 1 Maker’s 46 Mile at Keeneland in April.

The Citation field will not include Obviously and Mr. Commons, who were third and fifth in the BC Mile.

Obviously has been turned out, according to Phil D’Amato, an assistant to trainer Mike Mitchell.

“He left us in great shape,” D’Amato said. “He’s earned a little r and r.”

Mr. Commons remains in training with John Shirreffs, and is being pointed for the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting.

“He ran respectably, but I think he could have run better in the Breeders’ Cup,” Shirreffs said.

“We’ll give him a little break. He’s been pointing for a race each month.”

Sunday’s Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes for fillies and mares over a mile on turf may include Mizdirection, the winner of the BC Turf Sprint on Nov. 3. Trainer Mike Puype said on Friday that a decision will be made this weekend on her status.

Sunday’s Grade 1 Hollywood Derby over 1 1/4 miles on turf may oversubscribe. The race is led by Grandeur, the winner of the Twilight Derby at Santa Anita on Nov. 2, and Golden Ticket, who finished in a dead-heat in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes at Saratoga in August.