Phil D’Amato, the current leading trainer at Del Mar, will try for a second consecutive Hollywood Turf Cup Stakes (G2T) at the track Nov. 25. Having won the race last year with Say the Word , D’Amato brings two European-breds this year: Prince Abama and Cash Equity —two of the principal threats to the anticipated race favorite, the Leonard Powell-trained Dicey Mo Chara .
The D’Amato pair is slated to meet four locals and one shipper in the 1 1/2-mile event. Like Prince Abama, the shipper is also an Irish-bred, but hails from Graham Motion’s East Coast barn. The Grey Wizard could give Motion his second Turf Cup, the trainer winning it in 2011 with Sanagas when the race was still at Hollywood Park.
The Turf Cup is part of Del Mar’s Fall Turf Festival, a popular destination for shippers because of the time and location of the races, said Del Mar racing secretary David Jerkens.
“Obviously, at the end of the year turf opportunities back east are limited,” Jerkens said. “So it fits a certain time when there’s not as much competition.”
If D’Amato gets a second consecutive Turf Cup, he will be the first to do it since John Gosden back in the 1980s. Known now as a top English-based trainer, Gosden was then a Southern California trainer. He saddled three consecutive Turf Cup winners: Alphabatim in 1984, Zoffany in 1985, and Alphabatim again in 1986. In 1986, Bill Shoemaker won on Alphabatim.
D’Amato has two top riders on Prince Abama and Cash Equity. Flavien Prat is named on Michael House’s Prince Abama from post 6. Prince Abama is coming off stakes-placings at Santa Anita Park in the City of Hope Mile Stakes(G2T) and Lure Stakes, also at a mile. Umberto Rispoli is set to ride Madaket Stables, Michael Dubb, and Bill Strauss’ Cash Equity from post 2. Cash Equity most recently finished fourth in the 1 1/4-mile John Henry Turf Championship Stakes (G2T) after pulling early and then racing wide.
Dicey Mo Chara (middle) runs second to Masteroffoxhounds (right) while Gold Phoenix (left) settles for third in the John Henry Turf Championship at Santa Anita Park
Red Baron’s Barn and Rancho Temescal’s Dicey Mo Chara finished second in the John Henry and could receive the most backing in the Turf Cup. The 4-year-old gelding lost the John Henry by just a neck to D’Amato-trained Masteroffoxhounds . Ryan Curatolo rode Dicey Mo Chara in the John Henry and is back aboard from post 7.
The Grey Wizard (John Velazquez, post 1) has made four U.S. starts for Motion after breaking his maiden for Joseph O’Brien in Ireland. The gelding, the only 3-year-old in the field, ran second twice, including in the 1 1/2-mile Caesars Jockey Club Derby Invitational Stakes (G3T) in New York.
Trainer Michael McCarthy has entered Avenue , who has leading rider Juan Hernandez and drew post 4. Avenue finished third in the San Juan Capistrano Stakes (G3T) three starts back at a distance of about 1 3/4 miles.
Dean Martini (Edwin Maldonado, post 5), trained by Peter Eurton, ran fourth in the San Juan Capistrano, just a neck behind Avenue.
Completing the field is Go On (Mario Gutierrez, post 3), who is coming off a one-mile turf win in a Santa Anita allowance/optional claimer. Formerly trained by Doug O’Neill, who is serving a suspension, Go On is currently being trained by his longtime assistant, Leandro Mora.
Entries: Hollywood Turf Cup S. (G2T)
Del Mar, Friday, November 25, 2022, Race 7
- Grade IIT
- 1 1/2m
- 3 yo’s & up
- 3:30 PM (local)