07/02/2013 12:12PM

Pleasanton: Distinctiv Passion faces Hollendorfer pair in Casual Lies

Shigeki Kikkawa
The 3-year-old Distinctiv Passion, making his first start since this win in the San Pedro in January, faces older horses in the Casual Lies on Thursday.

Thursday’s first running of the $75,000 Casual Lies Handicap – formerly known as the Sam Whiting Handicap – has come up unusually contentious. For example, Ain’t No Other has won three stakes, placed in graded stakes, and was the runner-up in last year’s Sam Whiting, yet he’s not even the favorite.

Named for the 1992 Kentucky Derby runner-up, the Casual Lies drew a field of six 3-year-olds and up who will run six furlongs on the dirt track at the Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton, Calif.

Ain’t No Other is 9-5 on the track’s morning line, with Distinctiv Passion 8-5, Moonshine Bay 5-2, and Ourwestcoastghost 8-1. Coach Bob (12-1) and Al Instante (20-1) complete the field.

Moonshine Bay, like Ain’t No Other trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, comes in as the “now” horse. He finished second in his stakes debut in the Feb. 18 Albany Stakes at Golden Gate Fields and then won two allowance races, all with Beyers in the 90s. Like his stablemate, he has hit the board in each of his six-furlong races.

The 3-year-old Distinctiv Passion will be making his first start since winning the Jan. 21 San Pedro at Santa Anita and then coming up with sore shins. The speedy colt, trained by Pleasanton-based Jeff Bonde, had his earliest workouts here but will be running in Northern California for the first time in his five-race career.

After another Bonde-trained 3-year-old, Saint Prado, captured the six-furlong Livermore Valley Wine Stakes on the opening weekend here, Bonde said Distinctiv Passion wasn’t ready for that race. The colt concluded his preparations for the Casual Lies with a pair of six-furlong bullet works June 20 and June 27 at Hollywood Park.

The only runner in the field making his stakes debut is Ourwestcoastghost, who comes off two strong allowance victories at Golden Gate Fields after spending more than a year on the sidelines.

With an easy half-mile blowout and five-furlong bullet work since his last victory, Ourwestcoastghost is sharp and ready for his first try on dirt, according to trainer Wayne Baker.

The stakes-placed Coach Bob will provide Distinctiv Passion with a pace challenge.

◗ Casual Lies’s owner-trainer Shelley Riley will be a guest at the 11:30 a.m. handicapping seminar on Thursday and will have copies of her book “Casual Lies – A Triple Crown Adventure” for sale.