Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 2 Californian Stakes comes our way this weekend from Betfair Hollywood Park. Horses three years old and upward will run 1 1/8 miles on Hollywood Park's all weather track as they chase their share of the $150,000 purse.
A very strong but small field of five has been assembled for the Californian. It is race 8 on Hollywood Park's Saturday card with a post time of 4:40 PM. Here is a look at the stellar group of five and their recent performances ahead of this most competitive race.
Game on Dude - is a multiple Grade 1 winner that will look to rebound from a disappointing 12th most recently in the Dubai World Cup to follow up an impressive 5 ¼ length win in the Grade 2 San Antonio. Prior to those results he nearly did enough to capture the Eclipse Award for Outstanding older male. He had two graded stakes wins in 2011 - the Goodwood Stakes and the Santa Anita Handicap and he finished second at the Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill Downs prior to Dubai. Bob Baffert trained Game On Dude has placed in seven of his last eight starts and is unquestionably the horse to beat.
Morning Line - looked terrific in a wire-to-wire win in his only start of 2012 in the Grade 2 Mervyn Leroy Handicap to follow up what was a disappointing end to his 2011 campaign - an 11th in the Grade 1 Whitney Invitational Handicap in August and a fifth in the Grade 3 Salvator Mile Stakes. It was just over a year ago that she won the Grade 1 Carter Handicap at Aqueduct and was second in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap. On paper, Morning Line is Game On Dude's biggest threat in the Californian.
Uh Oh Bango - most recently finished fifth in the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic Stakes on April 14th to follow up a third in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap on March 3rd and before that a second in the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes. He did post a win at the Grade 2 San Pasqual Stakes January 7th putting him firmly on the radar for the Californian. Uh Oh Bango has placed in 14 of his 20 career starts.
Prayer for Relief - is the other Bob Baffert entry in the Californian and is coming off a decent second to Morning Line in the Mervyn Leroy. Before that was a very disappointing 12th in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap, an OK third in the Strub Stakes and a third in the San Fernando Stakes at Santa Anita. He did have wins at the Grade 3 Iowa Derby, the Grade 2 West Virginia Derby and the Grade 2 Super Derby in the summer of 2011 proving that he has what it takes to contend.
Kettle Corn - has won three of his last five starts including his graded stakes debut in the Grade 3 Native Diver on December 3rd. Last time out was a close third to Morning Line and Prayer for Relief in the Mervyn Leroy in his only start of 2012. Kettle Corn has placed in nine of 13 starts including six wins.
Race 8 on Hollywood Park's Saturday card with a Post Time of 4:30 PM.
||Game On Dude
||Uh Oh Bango
||Prayer for Relief