Las Vegas, NV - Betfair Hollywood Park in Inglewood, California will be the scene of the Grade 3 Vernon O. Underwood Stakes this Thanksgiving Thursday, November 28. Horses three years old and upward will be featured as they dash six furlongs on Hollywood Park's All Weather Track in search of the winner's share of the $100,000 purse.
A small but quality field of six has been attracted by the 2013 Vernon Underwood - race 4 on Hollywood Park's Thanksgiving Thursday card. Post time is 12:30 PM. Let's take a brief glance into the past performances of all six combatants for this Grade 3 stakes.
Anillo - trainer Jeff Bonde - last year's winner of this race sends out Anillo Thursday for his graded stakes debut. He enters having won two of his last three races and four of his last seven and had been off-the-board just once in 10 starts in 2013. Last time out was a third behind Zeewat and Flashback in the minor Damascus Stakes at Santa Anita November 2 after a win in the minor Jim Koskoff Stakes at Barretts Race Meet At Fairplex and an Allowance Optional Claiming score at Gulfstream in July. Anillo steps up in class but has looked good so far this year.
Majestic Stride - the other Jeff Bonde trained gelding has six career starts with three wins and a second place finish and enters off an OK fourth in the Breeders' Cup Sprint and a two race win streak - both Allowance races with the last coming October 6. His only other graded stakes start resulted in a fifth January 20, 2012 in the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes. Majestic Stride has looked good in his last three starts and is expected to challenge this weekend. His only other start on this track was a good second in his career debut. In a wide open field Majestic Stride is one of the names to watch.
Roman Threat - Bob Baffert trained gelding has just five career starts with two wins and a second place finish. Last time out was a fifth in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship after another fifth as 7-5 favorite in the minor Pirate's Bounty Stakes at Del Mar September 5 and 16 months away from the track. Before the layoff was a terrific win in the Grade 2 Los Angeles Handicap on this track in May 2012, a second in the Grade 2 Potrero Grand in April 2012 and a MSW score in March 2012 at Santa Anita. Legendary Gary Stevens gets the mount hoping to return Roman Threat to the winner's circle but his last two starts have been less than inspiring ahead of this weekend. He is 1 for 1 on this track however.
Handsome Mike - has just three wins in 21 career starts - a Maiden Special Weight score at Santa Anita in October, out of nowhere in the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby last September and in April at the Grade 3 Commonwealth Stakes - the only time he's placed in nine starts this year. Last time out was an eighth in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint, after an ugly tenth Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile October 5, another tenth in the Grade 2 Pat O'Brien, an unflattering eighth in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap and an OK fourth in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Stakes May 4. Handsome Mike placed in just three of his last 16 starts but opened a few eyes five back with his win in the Commonwealth. He switches surfaces looking for a spark Friday.
Chosen Miracle - Jerry Hollendorfer trainee has raced six times in 2013 with a win in an Allowance Optional Claiming March 28 and a pair of third place finishes to show for it he has failed to hit the board in his last two starts - a fifth last time out in an Allowance here way back in June and a sixth in the Grade 2 American Handicap in May. Before that was a third in the Grade 3 San Simeon Stakes right behind Obviously at Santa Anita April 20 and a third in the Grade 2 San Gabriel January 13. He has five wins, three seconds and three third place finishes in 16 career starts and hits the track for the first time since June is just so-so form.
Color of Courage - races for the first time since July 2011 Thursday. The last time we saw him he recorded a pair of fifths in the Grade 1 Bing Crosby and the Grade 1 Triple Bend 2 1/2 years ago after three straight wins in Allowance races. Rust will almost certainly be an issue Thursday.