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Cash Call Futurity Race At Hollywood Park

Cash Call Race Hoping To End The Season With A Bang. (AP Images)
The last ”˜big race’ of the 2010 Thoroughbred racing season took place on Saturday at the  Hollywood Park race track.

It is the Grade 1, Cash Call Futurity, a $750,000 race at 1-1/16 miles for horses who will remain 2-year-olds for only 12 more days. Yes, as moist racing fans know, every Northern Hemisphere racehorse automatically adds a year to its official age when the clock strikes 12:00.01 on Jan 1. Regardless of actual birthdates, the tradition is maintained to promote races for horses of similar growth and maturity—as in races exclusively for 3-year-olds.

Things are different in Australia, South America and Africa, where the seasons are reversed and horses that turn 4 years of age on New Year’s Day actually are 3-year-olds on our equine calendars. But that little note of trivia aside, the Cash Call-Futurity often is a strange race.

On one hand it rarely attracts the 2-year-olds who exposed themselves during the fall in races like the Champagne stakes in New York, the Norfolk in Southern California and/or the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. But it does tend to attract young horses that flashed some promise but did not quite pan out. It also attracts horses that just might turn out to be very good long range prospects for the Kentucky Derby.

In other words, it is a race that could point out one or more horses for wagering attention in the Derby Futures that soon will be posted on the web site.

Right now, before a single vote is tallied, we already know that undefeated UNCLE MO is a cinch winner of the 2010 Eclipse Award for 2-year-olds, based on his romp over BOYS AT TOSCANOVA in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs, Nov. 6. We also know that Remsen stakes winner TO HONOR AND SERVE is going to be worth watching as he prepares for his Derby campaign in Florida for Hall of Fame trainer Billy Mott. But that aside, there are 10 horses with mixed credentials in the Cash Call Futurity scheduled for 4:37 PM, PST at Hollywood Park on Saturday. Any one of them could emerge from this race with a chance to be among the most important horses to watch during the first several months of 2011.

Here is a brief thumbnail sketch of the entire field.

# 1: RONIN DAX, a maiden race winner at Del Mar at one mile on the grass, had two terrible trips in stakes in Canada and Kentucky. On Saturday he got blinkers and has been working faster than his past performances indicated, according to part owner Bruno DeJulio, my chief clocker at He’s 30-1 in the morning line and not an impossible stretch running upset possibility in a speed filled race.

# 2: J. P’S GUSTO was a front running winner of the G-1, 7 furlong Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 8 who showed little in the BC Juvenile and now must prove he can carry his speed around two turns at this 1-1/16 mile distance.

# 3: RUSTLER HUSTLER, a stretch running winner on two stakes at one mile and longer on the grass back east, ships in for trainer Rick Dutrow and jockey Ramon Dominguez as a formidable win threat.

# 4: SLAMMER TIME won his last two with mid-pack rallies for Gary Mandella, including the Cal Cup Juvenile at this distance on this track Oct. 30. Hard to fault on that resume, but Rafael Bejarano does take off the mount to ride #9 Industry Leader.

# 5: HIGH LEVEL JEFF was impressive winning two Calder sprints in Oct. and had a rough trip in his Hollywood debut at 7 furlongs on Nov. 20. He seems expensively bred but sold for a low $50K at auction last September.

# 6: CLUBHOUSE RIDE was OK in several sprints and rallied mildly for third in his first try at this distance in the $1 million Delta Jackpot in Louisiana Nov 20. Unfortunately, the Delta Jackpot winner is here for this.

# 7: GOURMET DINNER was the Florida shipper who scored a strong stretch running win in the Delta Jackpot and shipped in here to try and take down another rich pot. For his connections, this race and some rich winter preps are more important than the Derby. Apparently, they do not believe Gourmet Dinner is a true Derby horse, so they will strike while the iron remains hot.

# 8: RIVETING REASON was a very tired horse when he finished eighth in the BC Juvenile as a maiden and finally was put into a maiden route which he won at Hollywood on Nov. 25. Also, he ran third in a pair of Grade-1’s before the BC Juvenile, so his connections obviously believe he fits these nicely.

# 9: INDUSTRY LEADER won his 6-1/2 furlong debut here in Oct. and was probably best when forced to settle for second in the Hollywood Prevue stakes Nov. 20. He’s been working well, seems a good long range prospect.

# 10: COMMA TO THE TOP has reeled off four straight wins from 6 furlongs to 1-1/16 miles and also has won at one mile on the grass. Has terrific early speed, but will break from a tough post and has other speed types to overcome.

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