06/25/2011 12:16PM

Hollywood Park: Victor's Cry to make return in Shoemaker Mile

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Benoit & Associates
Victor's Cry was freshened for a month following his trip to Dubai.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Victor’s Cry’s month-long vacation following a springtime trip to Dubai ended in early May when the 6-year-old gelding resumed exercise for trainer Eoin Harty.

After a fifth-place finish in the $5 million Dubai Duty Free, Harty’s goals for Victor’s Cry’s comeback were clear – continue to dominate Hollywood Park’s major turf races for milers.

Last year, Victor’s Cry won the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile in May and the Grade 2 Citation Handicap over 1 1/16 miles on turf in November. Victor’s Cry will defend his Shoemaker title when the $300,000 race is run on Saturday.

There are signs that Victor’s Cry is back to his top form of 2010.

“He’s trained as well as he ever has,” Harty said. “I don’t think he’s lost a step. That’s a lot to ask to go to Dubai. I gave him a month off afterward.”

Owned by Bob and Michele Billings’s Equilete Stable, Victor’s Cry has won 6 of 23 stars and $726,021. He had by far his best season in 2010, winning 3 of 8 starts and $418,761.

In Dubai, Victor’s Cry finished 4 1/4 lengths behind Presvis in a race over about 1 1/8 miles on turf. He started from post 14 in a field of 16, which Harty thought hurt his chances.

“He had to go pretty wide,” Harty said. “If he could have saved some ground he could have hit the board. I’m not sure he would have won.”

Victor’s Cry is among nine probables for the Shoemaker Mile, along with Ashtar, Blue Chagall, Caracortado, Courageous Cat, Leroy’s Dynameaux, Liberian Freighter, Red Sun, and Smokey Lonesome.

Uh Oh Bango possible for Triple Bend

Saturday’s program also features the $250,000 Triple Bend Handicap, a Grade 1 over seven furlongs.

In coming days, trainer Kory Owens will decide whether that race will include Uh Oh Bango, the winner of the Grade 3 Berkeley Stakes over 1 1/16 miles at Golden Gate Fields on May 30. Uh Oh Bango worked a half-mile in 49.60 seconds on Friday. Afterward, Owens said he was between the Triple Bend or trying Uh Oh Bango over 1 1/4 miles in the $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 9.

“I’m leaving myself open,” he said.

Owens had considered sending Uh Oh Bango to Prairie Meadows for the Cornhusker Handicap, which was run on Saturday, but decided that additional time between starts would benefit the 4-year-old colt.

The Triple Bend will have a strong field led by Camp Victory, M One Rifle, and Amazombie, the first three finishers of the Los Angeles Handicap on May 30. Amazombie finished first in that race but was disqualified and placed third for causing interference in the stretch.

The race may also feature the graded stakes debut of Color of Courage, who has won two allowance races impressively at this meeting.