The Brock Talk

Friday, December 17, 2010

Young CashCall Has Rich History

Relative to many other grade 1 races in the country, the 29-year-old CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park Saturday is a relatively young event. After all, the Belmont Futurity is nearly 100 years older than the CashCall, having first been run in 1888. The CashCall, originally called the Hollywood Futurity, was first run in 1981.

Ten promising 2-year-olds have entered the 2010 CashCall Futurity at a 1-1/16 miles over Hollywood Park’s cushion track and the winner will likely join Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Uncle Mo, Remsen winner To Honor and Serve and host of others on the early part of the trail to the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands May 7.

They are also hoping to find themselves on the significant list of previous winners of the CashCall Futurity, the last grade 1 race of the year for 2-year-old colts and geldings.

Snow Chief was the first winner of this race to go on to Triple Crown prominence winning the 1986 Preakness after capturing the 1985 Hollywood Futurity. A.P. Indy was next, winning this race in 1981 before taking the Belmont Stakes the next year. Trainer Bob Baffert also would use a late season victories in the CashCall for future stars of the Triple Crown. Baffert won this race with Real Quiet in 1997, Point Given (photo above) in 2000 and Lookin at Lucky last year.

Real Quiet went on to win both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. Point Given also won two legs of the Triple Crown winning the Preakness and Belmont, while Lookin at Lucky won the Preakness. Baffert also won the CashCall Futurity with future stars Captain Steve 1999 and Pioneerofthe Nile in 2008. Unfortunately Baffert will not have a chance to win three consecutive CashCall Futurities as he has no representatives this year.

Other popular winners of CashCall/Hollywood Futurity were Best Pal in 1990, Afternoon Deelites in 1994 and Brother Derek in 2005. So the list of future stars who have won this race is a long one indeed in just 29 years.

There may not be a Lookin at Lucky or a Point Given in this rendition of the CashCall Futurity, but remember, Real Quiet was far under the radar at this point in his career. Going into this race, Real Quiet had only a maiden victory to his credit from eight previous starts with third place finishes in the grade 3 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes and the $250,000 Indian Nations Futurity Cup at Sante Fe Downs making up his only stakes appearances.

Although Pioneerofthe Nile was the 7-5 favorite when he won his CashCall Futurity two years ago, he too had only a maiden victory to his credit and was coming off of a fifth-place finish as a 30-1 longshot in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

There are three non-winners of two races in Saturday’s CashCall, and every one has some intrigue. Ronin Dax makes his first start on a cushion track after finishing a troubled fifth in the grade 3 Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs in October. He also encountered some traffic problems in the grade 3 Summer Stakes on the Woodbine turf in September which also resulted in a fifth place.

Riveting Reason broke his maiden in his last race but finished third in both the Norfolk and Del Mar Futurity, both grade 1 races before running eighth in the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill.

Industry Leader makes just his third start for trainer Kristin Mulhall and jockey Rafael Bejarano. After breaking his maiden he was second in the grade 3 Hollywood Prevue Stakes over the Hollywood track during the Oak Tree meeting.

On the other side, the CashCall Futurity this year also features three graded stakes winners led by J.P.’s Gusto with three graded wins on his ledger. Ridden by Joe Talamo and trained by David Hoffmans, the ridgling son of Successful Appeal, defeated Riveting Reason when second in the Norfolk and again while winning the Del Mar Futurity. J.P.’s Gusto also won the grade 2 Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar and the Hollywood Juvenile (gr. 3) this summer.

One of the more interesting entries is Gourmet Dinner, who arrives at Hollywood Park from trainer Steve Standbridge’s base at Calder Race Course in Florida. It won’t be the first traveling experience for the team that also includes jockey Sebastien Madrid. Last month Gourmet Dinner took the $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot (gr. 3) at odds of 20-1. Although it was third stakes win in the young career of Gourmet Dinner, the other two came in restricted Florida-bred stakes at six and seven furlongs in August.

Sure to get his share of betting support is Comma to the Top, a winner of four consecutive including the grade 3 Generous Stakes on the Hollywood Park turf in his last start. He also won the $100,000 Real Quiet Stakes by six lengths at Hollywood Park, so the synthetic cushion track should be of little concern for jockey Corey Nakatani and trainer Peter Miller.

There are no apparent standouts in the CashCall Futurity browsing through the past performances. But there are plenty of entrants with some potential. It won’t be until after the race Saturday until we know if the winner will be mentioned with Uncle Mo, Boys of Toscanova, To Honor and Serve or selected other impressive 2-year-olds being pointed to the Kentucky Derby next year. And it will be far later when we can grade this year’s winner along with some of the stars that have won this race in the past.

But the CashCall Futurity has established itself as producing such types and there’s a good chance it will again this year.

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