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HOLLENDORFER’S CITY TO CITY MOST ACCOMPLISHED AMONG ENTRANTS IN SUNDAY’S GRADE II FRANKEL STAKES; BIG TIZ TOPS KALOOKAN QUEEN
ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 29, 2011) – Jerry Hollendorfer, who this year became the fourth trainer in history to saddle 6,000 winners, will send out the most accomplished runner, City to City, Sunday in Santa Anita’s Grade II stakes race that memorializes fellow Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, the $150,000 Robert J. Frankel Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on turf.
City to City, a 5-year-old mare to be ridden by Rafael Bejarano, heads a field of six in the race Frankel won seven times within 12 years prior to his death on Nov. 16, 2009. It was known as the San Gorgonio Handicap before Santa Anita officials changed the name to honor the track’s all-time leading trainer with 917 victories.
Owned by Hollendorfer in partnership with William DeBurgh and Mark DeDomenico, City to City returns to grass footing in the Frankel following a lackluster fifth-place showing as the 8-5 favorite in the Grade II Bayakoa Handicap over Hollywood Park’s synthetic surface on Dec. 4.
Prior to the Bayakoa, 12 of City to City’s 13 races had been on turf, surface on which she has compiled a 4-2-4 record. Her overall earnings of $404,491 (6-5-5 record in 22 starts) well exceed those of any of her opponents on Sunday. She will cede five pounds to each of her rivals while carrying high weight of 123 pounds.
The daughter of City Zip is the only multiple graded stakes winner in the lineup. She captured Del Mar’s Grade II Palomar Handicap in September. She took Santa Anita’s Grade II Providencia Stakes in April of last year.
The only other graded stakes winner in the field is Irish-bred Turning Top, who won Hollywood Park’s Grade III Beverly Hills Handicap last year. The 6-year-old mare, trained by Simon Callaghan, has consistently been facing the stiffest competition. Since her Beverly Hills Handicap score, Turning Top has competed in 10 successive races that carried either Grade I or Grade II ratings.
In her only previous confrontation with City to City, Turning Top finished a troubled 1 ½ lengths behind in September’s Palomar Handicap while dead-heating for fifth. David Flores will ride Michael Tabor’s mare who has earned $300,443 from a career mark of 6-3-4 in 25 starts.
The complete field for the Robert J. Frankel Stakes, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Bauble Queen, Garrett Gomez, 118; Celestial Kitten, Mike Smith, 118; City to City, Rafael Bejarano, 123; Turning Top, David Flores, 118; Whisper Louise, Victor Espinoza, 118, and Miss Mittagong, Joel Rosario, 118.
Big Tiz, second in her last three starts including the Grade I Hollywood Starlet, returns from a seven-month hiatus in Sunday’s supporting feature, the $75,000 Kalookan Queen Handicap at 6 ½ furlongs over Santa Anita’s main track. Nine fillies and mares were entered.
Joel Rosario will ride the daughter of Tiznow who went to the sidelines following a runner-up finish to May Day Rose in Hollywood Park’s Grade III Railbird Stakes on May 11. Two races previous, Big Tiz had run second to Turbulent Descent in the Starlet at Hollywood Park.
Trained by Mark Glatt for the partnership of Allen and Susan Branch and Cory Wagner, Big Tiz has been working swiftly for her comeback. She returns with earnings of $160,110 from a 1-3-3 record in eight races.
Rumor, winner of the CERF Stakes at Del Mar on Sept. 7, also returns to action in the Kalookan Queen. Garrett Gomez will be back aboard the 4-year-old daughter of Indian Charlie who has won 3 of her 6 starts for Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella while finishing second in the other three. A $440,000 sales purchase by Ramona Bass, Claiborne Farm and Dilschneider, Rumor has earned $154,018.
The compete field for the Kalookan Queen Handicap, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Burg Berg, Smith, 119; A Jealous Woman, Hector Berrios, 115; Bella Diamante, Corey Nakatani, 114; Excellent News, Martin Garcia, 116; Equitana, Chantal Sutherland, 118; Rumor, Gomez, 118; Saint Isabelle, Bejarano, 118; Big Tiz, Rosario, 118, and Pincelada, Joseph Talamo, 116.
The Frankel will be contested as the eighth race on a program of nine races. The Kalookan Queen will go as the fifth. First post is at 12:30 p.m.