11/11/2010 4:25PM

Treat Gently gets easier foes in Hollywood Turf Cup

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Treat Gently (center) wins the Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay at Belmont in May.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Is it contradictory to suggest a Grade 1 race at Hollywood Park represents a drop in class?

Not for Treat Gently, the East Coast-based mare running 1 1/2 miles Saturday against seven evenly matched West Coast males in the $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup.

Treat Gently will try to become the first filly or mare since 1991 to win the Turf Cup, and she chose the right year to try. Her rivals are a combined 0 for 31 in Grade 1 and Grade 2 races.

The Hollywood Turf Cup field includes Grade 3 winners Marlang and Temple City; lightly raced Grade 1 runner-up Where’s the Remote; durable 54-start veteran Unusual Heat; and longshots Worth Repeating, Buenos Dias, and Big Shot Syd.

Bill Mott trains Treat Gently, a Grade 2 winner against fillies and mares in spring. Her most recent start, a fourth in the Grade 1 Turf Classic at Belmont Park, suggests she can win Saturday under jockey Pat Valenzuela.

Treat Gently missed by less than three at Belmont behind Grade 1 winners Winchester and Paddy O’Prado; third-place finisher Grassy returned to win the Grade 2 Red Smith at Aqueduct. Treat Gently, owned by Juddmonte Farms, faces an easier field Saturday.

The pace in the Turf Cup will be set by either Marlang or Temple City. Last out, Marlang led to deep stretch before tiring to fourth in the Grade 1 Clement L. Hirsch that was won by subsequent Breeders’ Cup Turf runner-up Champ Pegasus. Marlang would be the first Turf Cup winner for trainer Neil Drysdale.

Temple City returns to grass after three main-track starts, including a last-place finish Oct. 2 on dirt at Hawthorne.

“For a big horse that never loses weight, he actually lost weight shipping to Hawthorne,” trainer Carla Gaines said.

She said Temple City has recovered and is training well.

The last time Temple City raced on grass was at Hollywood in July, when he missed by a head in the Grade 2 American Handicap at 1 1/8 miles. He subsequently won the Grade 3 Cougar II racing 1 1/2 miles on the main track at Del Mar.

Where’s the Remote finished second two starts back in the Grade 1 Hirch, then lost a main-track allowance at odds-on.

“I’m going to say it was the surface,” trainer Mike Mitchell said.

Where’s the Remote has won 3 of 7.