12/02/2011 3:57PM

Hollywood: Versatility a key for City to City in Bayakoa

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. − City to City has won graded stakes on turf at Del Mar and Santa Anita and recorded victories in lesser races on the Tapeta Footings synthetic surface at Golden Gate Fields and the conventional main track at Santa Rosa.

That versatility may work to her advantage when she starts in Sunday’s Grade 2, $150,000 Bayakoa Handicap at Hollywood Park, her first appearance on that track’s Cushion Track synthetic surface.

A new surface is not a major concern to trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who has watched City to City train well at Hollywood Park in recent weeks.

“The thinking is that she would run well,” he said.

A 4-year-old owned by the partnership of Hollendorfer, Mark DeDominico and Will DeBurgh, City to City needs a win in the Bayakoa over 1 1/16 miles to equal her number of stakes wins in 2010. During that season, she won the minor China Doll Stakes and Grade 2 Providencia Stakes and was second or third in four other stakes.

[MORE: Full coverage of the Sunday card from Hollywood Park]

This year, City to City has one stakes win – the Grade 2 Palomar Handicap at Del Mar in September – and three stakes placings.

“That was a big win for her,” Hollendorfer said of the Palomar. “She’s always been close.”

Hollendorfer has a strong team for the Bayakoa, including defending champion Washington Bridge. A 4-year-old filly by Yankee Gentleman, Washington Bridge is winless in eight starts this year and was third in the restricted Swingtime Stakes on turf at Santa Anita on Oct. 8. City to City will be a shorter price of the two.

City to City, who drew the outside post, is the lone 2011 stakes winner in the Bayakoa, which drew a field of seven.

Some of the fillies have had big seasons in the past. Champagne d’Oro won two Grade 1 races in New York in 2010 – the Acorn Stakes and the Test Stakes – but is winless in six starts this year. Champagne d’Oro was sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5 after a troubled start.

The race marks the graded stakes debut of Miss Mittagong, who won an optional claimer over 1 1/16 miles at Hollywood Park on Nov. 12, her second win at that level this year.

For the 3-year-old filly Bauble Queen, the Bayakoa is her first start in a stakes against older fillies and mares. Trained by Eric Kruljac, Bauble Queen has won two of six starts, including stakes-placings against 3-year-old fillies on turf in August and October.

In June, Bauble Queen won a maiden race over 6 1/2 furlongs on Hollywood Park’s synthetic main track by 5 1/4 lengths.

Kruljac said Bauble Queen will benefit from the sweeping turns on Hollywood Park’s main track.

“She’s run well over it, so that’s the basis” for the start, Kruljac said. “She seems to have a little trouble with the tight turns on the grass at Del Mar and Santa Anita. She couldn’t get it going until about 50 yards after they straightened away.

“We’ve got a lot bigger turns, and it’s not as sharp,” he said. “Hopefully, she won’t lose her chance.”

Bayakoa Handicap (G2), Post Time: 4:07 PT Sunday

Purse: $150,000; 1 1/16 miles

Post

Horse

Trainer

Jockey

ML Odds

1

Love Theway Youare

M. Cho

A. Quinonez

 

1

Washington Bridge

J. Hollendorfer

J. Talamo

 

1

Ellafitz

B. Baffert

M. Garcia

 

1

Miss Mittagong

B. Cecil

J. Rosario

 

1

Champagne D'Oro

E. Guillot

V. Espinoza

 

1

Bauble Queen

J. Kruljac

R. Bejarano

 

1

City to City

J. Hollendorfer

G. Gomez