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Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 3 Native Diver Handicap comes our way this Saturday, December 14 from Betfair Hollywood Park in Inglewood, California. Horses three years old and upward will take to Hollywood Park's synthetic track and go 1 1/8 miles for the winner's portion of the $150,000 purse.
The Native Diver has attracted a field of nine to go in race 7 on Hollywood Park's Saturday card. Post time is 3:35 PM. Let's take a brief glance into the past performances of all nine entries for this Grade 3 stakes.
Drill - Bob Baffert trainee has four wins in 20 career starts but those wins are spaced out - no real consistently good results have come from this colt. He won the 2011 Del Mar Futurity and then took six more months before winning the Grade 2 San Vicente in February 2012 and then the Lazaro Barrera in May. He hadn't placed in his first six starts of the year however - five fourth place finishes including four starts in a row (the Grade 2 San Carlos, the Grade 3 San Simeon, the Grade 2 American Handicap and the Grade 1 Triple Bend) before finishing third in his last two starts - the minor Bog Bear Stakes at Santa Anita October 31 and the minor Governor's Cup Handicap in September. Drill is trending upward hoping to give his trainer a second native Diver in a row.
Blueskiesnrainbows - Jerry Hollendorfer pupil won the 2012 Grade 1 Swaps Stakes but struggled a bit after that - an OK fourth in the Grade 2 Mervyn Leroy as 2-1 favorite at Hollywood Park May 4 of this year followed a nice Allowance Optional Claiming score by 3 3/4 lengths March 22 and a pair of seconds in Allowance Optional Claiming to start his 2013 campaign. Also this year he had a third in the Grade 3 Cougar II Handicap July 26 but followed that with a twelfth in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic August 25, a win in the minor but competitive Ralph M. Hinds September 22 at Barretts Race Meet At Fairplex and a fifth in the minor Bull Dog Handicap at Fresno October 13. Last time out was a terrific second behind London Bridge in the Breeders' Cup Marathon. He looks to be rounding back into form with a win, a second and a third in his last five starts overall. Blueskiesnrainbows has five wins in 21 career starts - two coming on this track.
Rousing Sermon - was deemed a contender at the beginning of 2012 but has not shown the expected form so far. He had an eighth in the 2012 Kentucky Derby to follow a decent third in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby and has been just OK since. He has nine starts this year for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer - no graded stakes action. Last time out was a win however in the minor On Trust Handicap on this track November 24 after a second in the minor Big Bear Stakes at Santa Anita October 31 and an Allowance Optional Claiming score four weeks earlier. Rousing Sermon has been away from graded stakes action for some time but looks ready for his return Saturday.
Setsuko - Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella will be after a record eighth Native Diver Saturday when he sends out Setsuko whose last race came in March 2012 - a second in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap after a second in the 2011 version of that race. He has two graded stakes starts on this track - both back in the summer of 2011. He was second in the Grade 3 Californian and followed that with a fourth in the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup. Setsuko has just two wins, seven seconds and three third place finishes in 18 career starts and hit the track for the first time in 20 months Saturday.
Hear The Ghost - lightly raced Jerry Hollendorfer trained gelding has just four career starts - a good second in the San Pedro Stakes at Santa Anita January 21 after a Maiden Special Weight score in his debut at 16-1 odds here December 15. In March he won his graded stakes debut - the Grade 2 San Felipe and then was forced to the sidelines for eight months. Hear the Ghost returned November 7 to a second in an Allowance Optional Claiming on this track. That makes two wins and two second in four career starts for Hear the Ghost who quietly could be the surprise of the Native Diver.
Native Diver Handicap betting at Hollywood Park with OffTrackBetting.com
Slim Shadey - British bred gelding has seven starts this year and has placed in just one - a win in the Grade 2 San Marcos at Santa Anita in February. He is coming off a sixth in the Grade 2 John Henry Turf after an eighth in the Grade 1 Eddie Read and another pair of sixths in graded stakes action. He has five wins and four second place finishes in 31 career starts but enters the Native Diver in less-than-stellar form although he switches to synthetic for the first time looking for a spark.
Soi Phet - has 22 career starts with five wins, two seconds and two third place finishes. He made his graded stakes debut September 28 and finished a good third in the Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita and most recently was fourth in the minor Big Bear Stakes at Santa Anita October 31. He had a four race win streak this summer however - three Allowance races at Del Mar and a Starter Allowance at Hollywood Park in June.
Mobilized - has failed to record a win in his last nine starts but does have a pair of thirds in four starts this year - in the minor On Trust Handicap on this track last time out and an Allowance in July at Del Mar. His other results include a ninth in the Grade 2 Pat O'Brien in August. Mobilized has six wins, a second and nine thirds in 31 career starts but has not placed in graded stakes action since a third in the Grade 1 Triple Bend in June 2012.
Fire With Fire - has been a bit up and down in his recent graded stakes action - a third last time out in the Grade 3 Berkeley Handicap at Golden Gate November 29, a third in the 2012 Del Mar Handicap and the 2013 Grade 2 San Luis Rey Stakes have been his best results. Other results include fifth place finishes in the 2013 Del Mar Handicap, in the Grade 2 San Juan Capistrano and the Grade 2 Hollywood Turf Cup. He had a win in the minor Bull Dog Handicap October 13 after a second in the minor Ralph M. Hinds Handicap and he did win the minor Joseph T. Grace Handicap at Santa Rosa in August. Fire With Fire enters having won two of his last five starts with a second and a third over that span but still looking for a breakthrough in graded stakes company.
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