Greg's Gold back on friendly ground


INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- The Breeders' Cup Sprint at Monmouth Park on Oct. 27 has been forgotten around trainer David Hofmans's Hollywood Park barn.

Greg's Gold went into the $2 million race as a leading contender, was never a factor on a sloppy track, and finished eighth.

"You have to throw it out," Hofmans said.

The race is a rare blemish on Greg's Gold's 2007 form as the 6-year-old approaches Sunday's $100,000 Vernon Underwood Stakes at Hollywood Park.

"He's back on a synthetic track, which he likes," Hofmans said.

Greg's Gold has not been worse than second in six starts in Southern California this year, including two stakes wins - the Tiznow Stakes at Hollywood Park in April and the Grade 2 Pat O'Brien Handicap at Del Mar in August.

Greg's Gold later finished a troubled second to Idiot Proof in the Grade 1 Ancient Title Stakes at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting in October.

Owned by Bill Boswell, Greg's Gold is part of a small field in the Grade 3 Underwood Stakes. The other probable starters are Bushwacker, Council Member, Double Action, and In Summation.

In Summation will be trying to win his fourth consecutive stakes in his first start since the Arlington Sprint Handicap in August. In Summation and Greg's Gold finished a nose apart in the Grade 1 Bing Crosby Handicap at Del Mar in July.

"He's the horse to beat," Hofmans said of In Summation.

Greg's Gold worked five furlongs in 58.80 seconds on Sunday, the fastest of 36 recorded works at the distance.

"It was a very easy work," Hofmans said.

Hofmans also trains Council Member, who was a well-beaten third in the Grade 3 Sport Page Handicap at Aqueduct on Oct. 27. Council Member was scratched from Saturday's Hollywood Turf Express because Hofmans thought the Underwood Stakes would have a smaller field. The Turf Express had nine starters, and the Underwood had only eight nominees.

Tough Tiz's Sis, who won the Lady's Secret Stakes at Santa Anita in October but was seventh in the Breeders' Cup Distaff, is likely to be favored Saturday in the $150,000 Bayakoa Handicap for fillies and mares over 1o1/16 miles.

The field will also include Romance Is Diane, winner of the California Cup Matron, and Sugar Shake, winner of the Turnback the Alarm Handicap at Aqueduct on Nov. 4.

New style suits Lang Field in Citation
Trainer Art Sherman has thought for months that Lang Field was capable of a stakes win. He just did not envision that it would occur in Friday's $400,000 Citation Handicap, a Grade 1 over 1 1/16 miles on turf.

Lang Field showed a new style in the Citation. Instead of leading early, as he had in several starts, the 4-year-old gelding stalked the pace, circled the leaders on the second turn, and held off 2-1 favorite Zann to win by a neck.

Winning jockey Jon Court said Lang Field "was a handful" early, but that he was comfortable behind frontrunners through the first half-mile.

"He likes a horse to hook him and he doesn't like a horse to go by him," Sherman said. "He made me proud of him."

The upset win at 18-1 has left Sherman planning to start Lang Field in the $150,000 San Gabriel Handicap over 1 1/8 miles on turf at Santa Anita on Dec. 30.

"He seems to thrive on time off," Sherman said. "I didn't know he'd be a Grade 1 winner. I thought he'd win a stakes."

The Citation was the first Grade 1 win for owner Nigel Shields of South Africa, Sherman said.

For Court, the Citation was his first Grade 1 win of 2007 and first since Downthedustyroad won the La Brea Stakes at Santa Anita last December.

Court's mounts earned more than $7.2 million in 2005 and in 2006, but this year his mounts have earned only $3.6 million, which made the Citation result even more meaningful.

"It's been a little slower this year than in previous years," Court said.

An added bonus - the win came on Court's 47th birthday.

Pair of track records broken
Two track records fell over the weekend, but judging from recent results they may not last long.

Curiously Sweet won an allowance race over 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.27 on Saturday. The previous mark of 1:41.37 was set by Caressive on Thanksgiving Day.

On Sunday, Johnny Eves ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:14.03. The previous mark of 1:14.56 was set by Dearest Trickski on Nov. 17.

The synthetic main track at Hollywood Park has produced fast times since it was first used in November 2006.

Curiously Sweet will be pointed for the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Distaff at Santa Anita on Jan. 26 after her win Saturday. Ridden by Patrick Valenzuela, Curiously Sweet overpowered seven rivals, pulling clear to win by 4 1/2 lengths in 1:41.27.

Owned by Gary and Cecil Barber, Curiously Sweet has won 3 of 6 starts and $140,400. In the Melair Stakes for statebred 3-year-old fillies last April, she was a handful for jockey Garrett Gomez and finished second to Tiz Elemental.

"She should have won the Melair, but she had a ton of trouble," trainer John Sadler said. "She was best that day."

Curiously Sweet was given a six-month break because of a knee problem detected after that race, Sadler said.

Sunday, Johnny Eves led throughout an allowance race, scoring his fourth win in his ninth start. Trained by Jay Robbins for owner-breeder Sharon Hilliard, Johnny Eves was seventh as the favorite in the California Cup Sprint earlier this month at Santa Anita.

Jockeys receive suspensions
Jockeys Rafael Bejarano, Agapito Delgadillo, Martin Garcia, and Patrick Valenzuela have been given three-day suspensions for causing interference in races last weekend.

Bejarano caused interference near the quarter pole of Friday's sixth race, resulting in the disqualification of his mount, Bullsbay, from second to ninth.

Garcia was cited for his ride aboard Spoils of Excess, who was disqualified from third to fifth in the seventh race Friday. The suspensions of Bejarano and Garcia run from Saturday through Wednesday.

Delgadillo caused interference aboard Fogged In in the 10th race on Saturday. There was no disqualification.

Valenzuela was cited for causing interference in Saturday's Hollywood Turf Express when Fast Parade lugged out in the stretch and was disqualified from sixth to ninth.

Delgadillo and Valenzuela's suspensions run from Sunday through Thursday.