Updated on 09/15/2011 12:36PM

Juvenile a Del Mar preview


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Came Home is a better colt than when he won his maiden by eight lengths on June 3, trainer Paco Gonzalez says.

This is not good news for the connections of the five opponents who will face Came Home in Sunday's $100,000 Hollywood Juvenile Championship at Hollywood Park.

"He's a different horse," Gonzalez said. "He's all business now. The whole family is the same way."

Came Home is the likely favorite in the Grade 3 Juvenile Championship over six furlongs, one of three graded stakes run on Sunday's program. The race changed considerably in recent days with the defections of two-time stakes winner Expected Program (foot problem) and the promising maiden winner Sleeping Weapon (flu).

Without them, the Juvenile offers a preview of horses to follow at the Del Mar meeting. No member of the field has won twice, and two launched their careers in claiming races.

Phoney Gold, who was sixth behind Expected Program in the Willard Proctor Memorial Stakes, won a $40,000 claiming race for maidens on May 2. A Major Pleasure won a $50,000 maiden race for claimers at Calder on June 11 in his second start. The Juvenile Championship will be his stakes debut and first race outside of Florida.

Came Home starts from the rail, and can be close to the pace. In his maiden race, he stalked the lead for a quarter-mile before taking over. Chris McCarron rides for owners Trudy McCaffery and John Toffan.

Came Home is not the only recent maiden winner in the lineup. Metatron is unraced since winning his debut by 3 1/2 lengths at Bay Meadows in May. Tim's Talent won a maiden race by 2 3/4 lengths for trainer Bob Baffert at Churchill Downs on June 16. "It wasn't all that fast," said Baffert, "but I think he'll get better."

The lone member of the field with a stakes placing is Tracemark, a maiden who ran second to Came Home on June 3. Following that, Tracemark finished second by a length to Expected Program in the Haggin Stakes over 5 1/2 furlongs June 17.

A closer, Tracemark will benefit from a fast pace. Owner Ed McGrath and trainer Michael Harte considered a maiden race, but opted for the Juvenile Championship.

"The maiden races come up pretty tough, too," Harte said. "He can run quite a bit. I think it's worth a gamble. We can always drop back."