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Las Vegas, NV - While most of the horse racing world will be fixated on Hollywood Park this weekend, there is graded stakes action on the West Coast as well. The Grade 2 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap goes down Saturday, June 8 at Betfair Hollywood Park in Inglewood, California. Horses three years old and upward will be featured as they go 1 1/4 miles on Hollywood Park's turf track for their share of the $200,000 purse.
The Charles Whittingham has attracted a field of seven for race 4 on Hollywood Park's Saturday schedule. Post time is 2:32 PM. Let's take a brief glance into the past performances of all seven combatants for this Grade 2 stakes.
Slim Shadey - won the Grade 2 John Henry Turf Championship September 30 to put himself on the map but didn't do much after that - a tepid eighth in the Breeders' Cup Turf, an OK fourth in the Hollywood Turf Cup and a distant sixth as favorite in the Grade 2 San Gabriel here January 13. He was a great repeat win in the Grade 2 San Marcos Stakes in gate-to-wire fashion February 9 however but fell back to earth again with a fifth in the Grade 2 San Luis Rey Stakes in March. Last time out was another disappointment - a sixth in the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs May 4. He is the defending second place finisher in this race and seems to do his best work at 1 1/4 miles although he has never tasted victory at Hollywood Park.
All Squared Away - Peter Miller pupil had a very impressive win in the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes last April 21 at Keeneland. Since then All Squared Away has been all over the map - a pair of fifths, a disappointing seventh in the Grade 2 Swaps Stakes, an Allowance Optional Claiming score August 12 at Del Mar, a terrible twelfth in the Grade 3 Hawthorne Derby, a fourth in the Grade 2 Twilight Derby November 2, an eighth in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby and a win in an Allowance Optional Claiming January 6. He enter off a pair of good seconds - the Grade 2 San Juan Capistrano behind Interaction last time out April 21 and in the Grade 2 San Luis Stakes March 16 after an OK third behind Slim Shadey and Interaction in the Grade 2 San Marcos here February 9. He has placed in his last four starts overall and enters the Charles Whittingham in OK form.
Smart Ellis - is coming off an OK third in the Grade 2 San Juan Capistrano Stakes behind Interaction and All Squared Away at Santa Anita April 21 after an Allowance Optional Claiming score March 3. In 2012 he finished with a disappointing seventh in the Grade 2 Sir Beaufort Stakes, an ugly twelfth in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby November 25 and an OK third in the Grade 2 Twilight Derby November 2. He also had an eighth in the Grade2 Del Mar Derby last year, an Allowance Optional Claiming score in July at Del Mar after six months away and a second in an Allowance in January. He will be looking for his first graded stakes win Sunday and enters in OK form but has had no success in two starts at Hollywood Park.
Lucky Primo - will be making his 2013 debut Saturday. The last time we saw him was a nice win in the minor Lava Man California Cup Classic in October after a fourth in an Allowance Optional Claiming and an Allowance score on this track in July. Lucky Primo has six wins, three seconds and three third place finishes in 16 career starts and has placed in nine of 10 heading into the Charles Whittingham - but the Charles Whittingham is his first graded stakes action. He is undefeated in three appearances over the Betfair Hollywood Park grass.
Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap betting at Hollywood Park with OffTrackBetting.com
Tale of a Champion - has 13 career starts with five wins but finished a distant sixth in his graded stakes debut - the Grade 2 Del Mar Mile on August 26 and followed that with a fifth in the Grade 3 Eddie D on September 28. Since that time Tale of a Champion has continued to struggle - an eighth in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint and a sixth in the Grade 2 Citation Handicap to end 2012. This year he started with a sixth and a fifth respectively in the Citation Handicap and the Dan Gabriel Stakes but he has since placed in three straight including a Starter Stakes last time out at Santa Anita March 30.
Lime Rickey - is a veteran of 40 career starts but raced in graded stakes company for the first time since 2009 and finished fourth on April 21 in the Grade 2 San Juan Capistrano. Last time out was an OK second in the minor Round Table Stakes behind Dhaamer on this track May 12. He has placed in nine of his last 11 starts however and has three wins over that span - the last being a Claiming at Del Mar in September.
Niagara Falls - will make his graded staked debut having won two of his last three starts overall - a MSW May 5 here and an Allowance Optional Claiming on this track last time out here less than three weeks later. He has a stakes result sandwiched in there - a third in the minor Round Table Stakes on this track as well May 12. This will be his fourth race in a month but he has certainly looked good despite the busy schedule.
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