05/29/2008 12:00AM

Shoemaker Mile Preview


Monday, May 26, 2008
Hollywood Park - Race 9
1 Mile (Turf)
Shoemaker Mile (Grade 1)
3-year-olds and upward
Purse $250,000.

In-form DAYTONA looms the main speed in the Shoemaker Mile, but he may feel some early pressure as MAST TRACK, EVER A FRIEND, and GET FUNKY all like to race close to the pace. That may set the race up for a closer, and THOUSAND WORDS should appreciate switching back to his preferred surface after a pair of graded sprint tries in Kentucky. His lone North American turf start resulted in a win at this mile distance three back, and trainer Bobby Frankel may have his colt ready for a big try in the third start of the form cycle. Toss out the polytrack setback two starts ago as well as his defeat in his dirt debut in the Churchill Downs Handicap on Derby Day, and you're left with a turf-loving closer facing a positive pace scenario.
HYPERBARIC is a lightly-raced five-year-old, and he gave Daytona a tussle in the Arcadia Handicap on April 5. He won his 'n2x' condition over this course and trip, and has the tactical speed to find a good spot in the second flight going into the first turn. Julio Canani is having an excellent Hollywood meet, and the rider switch to Bejarano is interesting.
Former claimer EVER A FRIEND earned Grade 1 blacktype by winning the Kilroe Mile on March 1 at Santa Anita for Mike Mitchell. The gray has solid tactical speed, and shouldn't be too far from Daytona in the early stages.
Venerable veteran PERFECT DRIFT is closing in on $5M in earnings, but hasn't reached the winner's circle since June 18, 2005, and is returning from a slight injury. He found a salty spot for his comeback, and may need a run. MAST TRACK inched away from Brother Derek and other solid allowance foes over cushion track on April 20 at this distance, and is a .500 hitter on the turf. He will be tested for class in this spot, and Frankel may opt to send him after DAYTONA in order to aid uncoupled mate Thousand Words. GET FUNKY chased an unorthodox pace situation in the Inglewood, and should be sharper for his second start of the year. Although he did win the Del Mar Derby at nine furlongs in 2006, his recent form indicates he may prefer sprint distances. NOTIONAL is still seeking his first turf win, and his last two races(one in Dubai, one on cushion track) were disappointing.

1. Thousand Words
2. Hyperbaric
3. Ever a Friend