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O'Neill has another stacked lineup at spring-summer meet
INGLEWOOD, Calif. - With a stable that numbers approximately 120 runners, trainer Doug O'Neill should be at the top of the standings at Southern California tracks.
O'Neill, 37, won his second consecutive title at the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting that ended Sunday, accenting his title with a stakes double on Saturday.
The Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting opens Wednesday, and O'Neill will have a good indication in the first week of how his stable will fare between now and the end of the meeting, July 16.
For Sunday's California Gold Rush program for statebreds, O'Neill has two standouts: Sam's Ace in the $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes for 3-year-olds and Lava Man in the $175,000 Khaled Stakes on turf.
Last year, O'Neill ran away with the title for the 2005 spring-summer meeting at Hollywood Park, winning 31 races, 10 more than runner-up Mike Mitchell.
"I'm happy with the horses we've got," O'Neill said. "If they stay sound, they can run every three or four weeks."
Lava Man is among four horses whom O'Neill nominated as stable leader for the upcoming meeting, along with Sharp Lisa, Thor's Echo, and Whilly.
Sharp Lisa won the Grade 2 Santa Barbara Handicap at Santa Anita on Saturday. She will be pointed for the Grade 1 Gamely Breeders' Cup Handicap on May 29. Thor's Echo, second in the $2 million Golden Shaheen sprint in Dubai on March 25, may start in the Los Angeles Handicap on May 13. Whilly, unplaced in the Dubai Duty Free last month, may run in the Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile on May 29.
Lava Man has been the leading older horse in California this year, winning two $1 million races: the Sunshine Millions Classic for California-breds and Florida-breds in January and the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap on March 4.
O'Neill is putting Lava Man back on turf for the Khaled Stakes to keep him home. Lava Man was well-beaten in major stakes in New York and Japan last fall. He was considered for the Pimlico Special in Baltimore next month until the decision was reached to try the Khaled.
Lava Man breezed five furlongs in 1:03.80 on Sunday on Hollywood Park's new turf course.
"I thought he looked great and handled it well," O'Neill said.
Lava Man has not run on turf since he finished fifth in the 2004 Crystal Water Handicap at Santa Anita. The 2005 California-bred horse of the year, Lava Man has won 3 of 9 starts on turf and $87,704. He has earned $2,184,706 in his career.
The Gold Rush program features six stakes worth $100,000 or more and four races for maidens and allowance-class runners.
Sam's Ace will make his first start since finishing fourth in the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park on April 1. His opponents are expected to include Da Stoops, Exchange Offer, and Scootin George.
The $150,000 Fran's Valentine Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on turf is led by Moscow Burning, the 2004 California-bred horse of the year.
Buddy Gil back in training
Buddy Gil, the winner of the 2003 Santa Anita Derby, has resumed training with trainer Bill Mott in Kentucky after a layoff of more than 18 months, co-owner Scott Guenther said Sunday.
Buddy Gil, a winner of 6 of 18 starts and $804,067, arrived at Mott's barn Friday after spending the last few months in light training at co-owner Donnie McFadden's Billingsley Creek Farm in Idaho.
Buddy Gil, 6, underwent knee surgery after he was announced as retired in late 2004, Guenther said.
"We want to get him back on grass, on some kinder surfaces," Guenther said. "We'll let the horse tell us what he wants to do. This was his third knee surgery on the same knee."
Guenther said that Buddy Gil was given a full year before undergoing a medical examination that led to him being put back in training.
Buddy Gil finished sixth in the 2003 Kentucky Derby. His most recent win was an allowance race at Santa Anita in early 2004. He has not started since finishing fourth in an allowance race in September 2004.
* Balance remains on course for the Kentucky Oaks on May 5 after working five furlongs in 59.60 seconds under jockey Victor Espinoza at Hollywood Park on Saturday. The workout was the second-fastest of 33 recorded works at the distance.
* Trainer Noble Threewitt, 95, won for the first time in more than three years when Threeatonce won a maiden claimer for sprinters in Saturday's sixth race at Santa Anita.
* Apprentice jockey Saul Arias has been given a three-day suspension for causing interference aboard More Dust in the seventh race at Santa Anita last Friday. Arias's suspension begins Saturday and continues through May 3.
At a glance: Hollywood Park
RACING SCHEDULE: Wednesday through July 16. Dark Mondays and Tuesdays except May 15, May 29 and July 3-4. No racing on June 28, July 5-6.
POST TIME: 1:20 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays; 7:05 p.m. on Fridays, except for May 5 at 1:20 p.m. Other special post times: May 6, noon; July 1, 2 and 8, 12:30 p.m.
ADMISSION: (includes parking and program): General, $7; clubhouse, $10; turf club, $20. Preferred parking $3, valet parking $8.
LOCATION: 1050 S. Prairie Ave., Inglewood. East of 405 (San Diego Freeway), north of 105 (Century Freway).
PHONE: (310) 419.1500.
2006 Hollywood Park stakes schedule
|Wed.April 26||WILSHIRE HANDICAP (G3)||F&M, 3YO & Up||1 mile (T)||$100,000|
|Fri.,April 28||HARRY HENSON STAKES||3YO||5 1/2 furlongs (T)||65,000|
|Sat., April 29||INGLEWOOD HANDICAP (G3)||3YO & Up||1 1/16 miles (T)||100,000|
|Sun.,April 30||CAL NATIONAL SNOW CHIEF STAKES||3YO*||1 1/8 miles||250,000|
|Sun.,April 30||MELAIR STAKES||3YO F*||1 1/16 miles||200,000|
|Sun.,April 30||KHALED STAKES||4YO & Up*||1 1/8 miles (T)||150,000|
|Sun.,April 30||FRAN'S VALENTINE STAKES||F&M, 4YO & Up*||1 1/16 miles (T)||150,000|
|Sun.,April 30||B. THOUGHTFUL STAKES||F&M, 4YO & Up*||7 furlongs||150,000|
|Sun.,April 30||TIZNOW STAKES||4YO & Up*||7 1/2 furlongs||150,000|
|Sun.,April 30||BARRETTS STAKES||3YO & Up*||7 furlongs||70,000|
|Sun.,April 30||WARREN'S THOROUGHBREDS STAKES||F&M, 3YO & Up*||7 furlongs||70,000|
|Sun.,April 30||PEPPER OAKS FARM STAKES||C&G, 3YO & Up*||6 1/2 furlongs||60,000|
|Sun.,April 30||MAGALI FARMS STAKES||F&M, 3YO & Up*||6 1/2 furlongs||60,000|
|Sat., May 6||SENORITA STAKES (G3)||3YO F||1 mile (T)||100,000|
|Sat., May 6||RAILBIRD STAKES (G3)||3YO F||7 furlongs||100,000|
|Sun.,May 7||HAWTHORNE HANDICAP (G3)||F&M, 3YO & Up||1 1/16 miles||100,000|
|Sat.,May 13||JIM MURRAY MEMORIAL HCP. (G2)||3YO & Up||1 1/2 miles (T)||250,000|
|Sat.,May 13||LOS ANGELES HANDICAP (G3)||3YO & Up||6 furlongs||100,000|
|Sat.,May 13||MERVYN LEROY HANDICAP (G2)||3YO & Up||1 1/16 miles||150,000|
|Sun.,May 14||ALYDAR STAKES||3YO||1 1/8 miles||65,000|
|Sat.,May 20||LAZARO S. BARRERA MEM. STKS (G2)||3YO||7 furlongs||150,000|
|Sun.,May 21||WILL ROGERS STAKES (G3)||3YO||1 mile (T)||100,000|
|Sat.,May 27||WILLARD L. PROCTOR MEM. STAKES||2YO||5 1/2 furlongs||65,000|
|Sat.,May 27||CINDERELLA STAKES||2YO F||5 1/2 furlongs||65,000|
|Sun.,May 28||DESERT STORMER HANDICAP||F&M, 3YO & Up||6 furlongs||65,000|
|Mon.,May 29||SHOEMAKER B.C. MILE (G1)||3YO & Up||1 mile (T)||300,000|
|Mon.,May 29||GAMELY BREEDERS' CUP STAKES (G1)||F&M, 3YO & Up||1 1/8 miles (T)||300,000|
|Mon.,May 29||MANHATTAN BEACH STAKES||3YO F||5 1/2 furlongs (T)||65,000|
|Sat.,June 3||MILADY BREEDERS' CUP HCP. (G2)||F&M, 3YO & Up||1 1/16 miles||175,000|
|Sat.,June 3||GREAT LADY M STAKES||F&M, 3YO & Up||5 1/2 furlongs (T)||65,000|
|Sun.,June 4||HONEYMOON B.C. HCP (G2)||3YO F||1 1/8 miles (T)||175,000|
|Sat.,June 10||CHAS. WHITTINGHAM MEM. HCP (G1)||3YO & Up||1 1/4 miles (T)||300,000|
|Sat.,June 10||THE ACK ACK HANDICAP (G3)||3YO & Up||7 1/2 furlongs||100,000|
|Sun.,June 11||HOLLYWOOD B.C. OAKS (G2)||3YO F||1 1/16 miles||150,000|
|Sat.,June 17||THE CALIFORNIAN (G2)||3YO & Up||1 1/8 miles||250,000|
|Sat.,June 17||AFFIRMED HANDICAP (G3)||3YO||1 1/16 miles||100,000|
|Sun.,June 18||QUICKEN TREE STAKES||4YO & Up*||1 1/2 miles (T)||65,000|
|Sat.,June 24||BEVERLY HILLS HANDICAP (G2)||F&M, 3YO & Up||1 1/4 miles (T)||150,000|
|Sun.,June 25||CINEMA B.C. HANDICAP (G3)||3YO||1 1/8 miles (T)||150,000|
|Sat.,July 1||CASHCALL MILE INVTL. (G3)||F&M, 3YO & Up||1 mile (T)||750,000|
|Sat.,July 1||A GLEAM INVTL. HANDICAP (G2)||F&M, 3YO & Up||7 furlongs||150,000|
|Sat.,July 1||LANDALUCE STAKES||2YO F||6 furlongs||100,000|
|Sun.,July 2||AMERICAN OAKS (G1)||3YO F**||1 1/4 miles (T)||750,000|
|Sun.,July 2||VANITY HANDICAP (G1)||F&M, 3YO & Up**||1 1/8 miles||300,000|
|Sun.,July 2||AMERICAN HANDICAP (G2)||3YO & Up**||1 1/8 miles (T)||250,000|
|Sun.,July 2||TRIPLE BEND HCP. (G1)||3YO & Up**||7 furlongs||300,000|
|Sun.,July 2||FLAWLESSLY STAKES||3YO F||1 mile (T)||100,000|
|Tues.,July 4||HOLLYWOOD JUV. CHAMPIONSHIP (G3)||2YO||6 furlongs||100,000|
|Sat.,July 8||HOLLYWOOD GOLD CUP (G1)||3YO & Up||1 1/4 miles||750,000|
|Sat.,July 8||SWAPS BREEDERS' CUP STAKES (G2)||3YO||1 1/8 miles||350,000|
|Sat.,July 8||REDONDO BEACH STAKES||F&M, 3YO & Up||1 mile (T)||65,000|
|Sun.,July 9||ROBERT K. KERLAN MEMORIAL HCP.||3YO & Up||5 1/2 furlongs (T)||65,000|
|Sat.,July 15||VALKYR STAKES||F&M, 3YO & Up*||6 furlongs||65,000|
|Sun.,July 16||SUNSET BREEDERS' CUP HCP (G2)||3YO & Up||1 1/2 miles (T)||150,000|