Updated on 09/18/2011 1:40AM

'Sid' will again play catch me if you can

Email
Alex Evers/Horsephotos
Symphony Sid, front-running winner of the Carleton F. Burke, will try the same tactics against a stronger field in Saturday's Hollywood Turf Cup.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - When the ex-claimer Symphony Sid led by as many as 10 lengths midway through the Grade 3 Carleton Burke Handicap at Santa Anita in October, it seemed impossible that the runaway strategy would lead to a win over 1 1/2 miles on turf.

But his six rivals were unable to make a dent, giving Symphony Sid his first stakes win in a race he won by 5 1/2 lengths.

In Saturday's Grade 1, $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup at Hollywood Park, Symphony Sid will try the same tactics, but this time a better field will be chasing him over 1 1/2 miles on turf.

Thursday, trainer Mike Mitchell was ecstatic about Symphony Sid's condition and issued a challenge to his seven Turf Cup rivals - try to keep up with us.

"It will be suicide," Mitchell said. "I don't think anyone has his kind of speed. I'm not going to change anything. We'll have the exact same game plan."

Owned by a partnership, Symphony Sid has improved considerably since being claimed for $50,000 at Del Mar in July. A victory by the 6-year-old in the Turf Cup would be an upset, since the race features the multiple stakes winners Cosmonaut, Meteor Storm, and T.H. Approval, who are all coming out of Grade 1 races.

Artiste Royal, Runaway Dancer, and Mighty Mysterious, second through fourth in the Burke, also have been entered along with the improving Boboman.

"This is a different group of horses," Mitchell said. "He's training super."

T.H. Approval may be Symphony Sid's first threat. Trained by Eduardo Inda for Tadahiro Hotehama, T.H. Approval finished eighth in the Breeders' Cup Turf at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4. While the course there was listed as firm, Inda described it as "soft." T.H. Approval was as close as 2 1/2 lengths of the lead with a quarter-mile remaining but faded in the final furlong under jockey Alex Solis.

"In the last part, he just left him alone," Inda said of Solis's tactics. "I know he likes the track at Hollywood Park. He's won four races there."

In October, T.H. Approval finished second by a head to Arlington Million winner The Tin Man in the Grade 1 Clement Hirsch Handicap over 1 1/4 miles on turf at Santa Anita. The Tin Man led throughout, but T.H. Approval was never farther than two lengths away.

"When we ran with The Tin Man, we ran with him, and I don't think that horse is The Tin Man," he said, referring to Symphony Sid.

Any pressure on Symphony Sid would help Artiste Royal, Meteor Storm, and Runaway Dancer, all of whom are best from off the pace.

Meteor Storm won the W.L. McKnight Handicap at Calder last December, but is winless in two starts this year. He was fifth in the Grade 1 Canadian International at Woodbine in October.

Runaway Dancer won the Grade 3 Jim Murray Memorial Handicap over this course and distance in 2005, but is winless in nine subsequent graded stakes. He won the restricted Escondido Handicap at Del Mar in August.

Cosmonaut, who won the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap over 1 1/4 miles on turf in July, is trying 1 1/2 miles for the first time. He was fourth in the Grade 1 Citation Handicap over 1 1/16 miles here on Nov. 24.

Artiste Royal is seeking his first stakes win in the United States. Trained by Laura de Seroux, Artiste Royal was beaten a half-length in the Hirsch after racing in traffic late.

Saturday, jockey Corey Nakatani rides Artiste Royal for the first time, replacing the injured Patrick Valenzuela.

De Seroux said she thinks Artiste Royal can win the Turf Cup with an off-the-pace rally, but is worried that Symphony Sid will have an uncontested lead.

"He's knocking on the door," she said of Artiste Royal. "Hopefully there will be some company for [Symphony Sid] on the front end."