Updated on 09/17/2011 11:53AM

Top Cal-breds collide


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The sixth race at Hollywood Park on Saturday is a $62,000 allowance race over 1 1/16 miles, and it has all the elements of a preview for the California Cup Classic.

Even though that $250,000 race is four months away at Santa Anita, it would be no surprise if it included the stakes winners Calkins Road, General Challenge, Romanceishope, Sky Jack, and Yougottawanna, all of whom will run on Saturday.

The allowance race is part of a pick six that features a $1 million guaranteed pool. The program includes three stakes.

All five of the stakes winners are California-breds who enter Saturday's race on losing streaks.

Romanceishope is making his first start since finishing a troubled fourth in the 2001 California Cup Classic, a race won by Sky Jack in 2000 and Calkins Road last year. Yougottawanna won the 2001 California Cup Juvenile. General Challenge, the winner of the 2000 Santa Anita Handicap, is making his third start following a layoff of more than 2 1/2 years.

Romanceishope won the Snow Chief Stakes and Del Mar Derby in 2001. He was supposed to have a routine vacation in the winter of 2001-02, but it stretched longer when he was forced out of training with a leg injury last year.

"We gave him time off after a hard campaign," trainer Jenine Sahadi said. "I said, 'Let's do the right thing and kick the horse out.' When I brought him back, I got within two weeks [of a race] and I had a problem with a high suspensory."

A 5-year-old, Romanceishope returned to training at Santa Anita in February.

Sahadi has been trying to enter Romanceishope in allowance races, and she finally found a spot on Saturday.

"He's had three nice works and looks fantastic," she said.

"It's hard to say how we'll do. That's a hell of a long layoff. I'd be thrilled if he showed some fight."

Romanceishope is a stalker who will be following Sky Jack and Bonus Pay Day, a hard-trying, California-bred gelding trained by Peter Eurton. Legendary Weave, the winner of an optional claimer on May 31, and Like a Hero, who was third in the 2002 Haskell Invitational, will also start. The allowance race is Like a Hero's first race since he finished fourth in the Grade 2 Goodwood Handicap last October.

Sahadi is hoping Sky Jack won't be left alone on the lead.

Sky Jack has made only one start this year since returning from knee surgery. He finished sixth in an allowance race on turf on June 13, leading to deep stretch before fading.

"I was hoping he wouldn't get pressured much earlier, but he still hung in there," trainer Doug O'Neill said. "I think he has better staying power on the dirt."

Saturday's race is Sky Jack's first start on dirt since he finished 11th in the Pacific Classic last August.

Last summer, Sky Jack won the Hollywood Gold Cup, the most prestigious victory for the 7-year-old, who has won half of his 16 starts and $929,267. Had Sky Jack won the June 13 allowance race, he would have been considered for this year's Gold Cup. Instead, O'Neill is hoping to use Saturday's race as a launch for future stakes.

"The fact that we were talking about the Gold Cup - I'm hoping he'll be tough to beat in this race," he said. "Our main goal is the Cal Cup Classic."

Funeral held for longtime breeder Coffee

A funeral was held Thursday in San Bernardino for John Coffee, an owner and trainer who began breeding Thoroughbreds in Southern California in 1955. Coffee died Monday in Highland. He was 82.

An Oklahoma native, Coffee was in the grocery business early in his adult life and switched to training in 1969, long after he began operating as a breeder. Among the leading horses he bred was Right or Wrong, a Santa Anita track-record holder who finished first in the 1970 Los Angeles Handicap but was disqualified and placed second for interfering with Ack Ack, the promoted winner.

In the late 1980's, Coffee and his wife, Dessie, bred Survive, a multiple stakes winner in California who won the 1991 A Gleam Handicap.

Coffee is survived by two daughters and five grandchildren.

Stanley Park bound for Oceanside

Stanley Park is being pointed for the $100,000 Oceanside Stakes at Del Mar on July 23 after he won an allowance race Wednesday, beating winners for the first time.

Ridden by Mike Smith, Stanley Park rallied from sixth in midstretch to win by 1 1/2 lengths over Flirt With Fortune. Trained by John Shirreffs, Stanley Park ($20.40) finished a mile on turf in a sharp 1:34.55.

Yogi's Polar Bear has knee surgery

Yogi's Polar Bear, the winner of the Cinderella Stakes on June 8, is out for the rest of the summer after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to have a bone chip removed from a knee, trainer Wesley Ward said.

Yogi's Polar Bear was a candidate for Friday's Landaluce Stakes before the injury was detected.

Ten Most Wanted works six furlongs

Illinois Derby winner Ten Most Wanted, who finished second to Empire Maker in the Belmont Stakes on June 7, worked six furlongs Thursday in 1:11.80, the fastest of 10 works at the distance.

Trained by Wally Dollase, Ten Most Wanted is being pointed for the $400,000 Swaps Stakes on July 13. The 1 1/8-mile race is the top race for 3-year-olds at this meeting.