There’s No Gold in the Californian
The $250,000 Californian, which will be run Sunday at Hollywood Park, is the final prep for the $1-million Hollywood Gold Cup on June 30.
But success in the Californian hasn’t meant much in the Gold Cup. No horse has completed the Californian-Gold Cup parlay since Cutlass Reality in 1988.
And no matter who wins Sunday, the streak probably won’t end this year, because Cigar is due in from the East to defend his Gold Cup title.
The five running in the Californian certainly aren’t slouches. They have combined for seven stakes victories this year, among them the Santa Anita Handicap, Strub, San Fernando and Mervyn LeRoy.
A distant second to Fastness in the Inglewood Handicap on turf three weeks ago, Helmsman is the probable favorite Sunday as he returns to a surface on which he has won two of three starts.
Trained by Wally Dollase, the 4-year-old El Gran Senor colt won the San Fernando and Strub in succession, then was found to have a displaced soft palate after he finished a distant fourth in the Big ‘Cap. The Inglewood was his first start since then.
Siphon, who drew the outside post in the small field, is the only starter coming in off a win, and he has won three in a row for trainer Richard Mandella.
Successful in the six-furlong Bay Meadows Express on Feb. 17, the 5-year-old Brazilian-bred stretched out and won the Bates Motel at Santa Anita, then the Mervyn LeRoy at Hollywood Park on May 4.
The rest of the field includes Del Mar Dennis, second in the LeRoy; Mr Purple, the upset winner of the Santa Anita Handicap who has won four of five dirt races at Hollywood Park; and Tinners Way, who has been idle since finishing seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Classic last Oct. 28. Tinners Way was third in this race last year before finishing second behind Cigar in the Gold Cup.
Horse Racing Notes
Gary Stevens, who hasn’t ridden locally since May 24 for personal reasons, will be back Sunday. He is named on four horses. . . . Besides the Massachusetts Handicap from Suffolk Downs, the Sea O’ Erin from Arlington International will be simulcast today at Hollywood Park. . . . Soul Of The Matter, who will make his next start in the Gold Cup, worked seven furlongs in 1:24 3/5 Friday morning. . . . Chris Antley will be at Golden Gate Fields today to ride Paying Dues in the Oakland Handicap.