A return to firm turf should help Jeranimo June 29 as the 7-year-old goes for a repeat victory in the $300,000 Shoemaker Mile at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Just five were entered in the Shoemaker Mile, the more lucrative of two Grade 1 events on Saturday's Hollywood Park card. Both the Shoemaker and the seven-furlong Triple Bend Handicap are Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In'' events. The Cup-nominated winner of the Shoemaker earns a fees-waived berth in the Breeders' Cup Mile, while the Cup-nominated winner of the Triple Bend receives the same in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile. Both of those races will be run Nov. 2 at Santa Anita Park.
The Shoemaker is the third of 10 races on the program with a 2:01 p.m. PDT probable post; the Triple Bend goes as race 9. In addition to Jeranimo, the Shoemaker field includes multiple Grade 2 winner Obviously, 2012 French Two Thousand Guineas winner Lucayan, and graded stakes winners Wilkinson and Za Approval.
Jeranimo failed to unleash his big late kick in his most recent start when he caught yielding ground in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic May 4 at Churchill Downs, finishing last of seven. He will try to become the first repeat winner of the Shoemaker Mile since Silic (1999-2000).
Owned by Robert V. LaPenta and B.J. Wright and trained by Mike Pender, Jeranimo won the 2012 event by 1 ¼ lengths, rallying from last in the homestretch to defeat Suggestive Boy at odds of nearly 9-1. He drew the rail for this renewal and retains the services of jockey Rafael Bejarano.
The Florida-bred bay son of Congaree won the San Gabriel Stakes on the Santa Anita turf in his first start of the year Jan. 13. Jeramino has won nine of 33 and banked $1,202,864.
Obviously, who dominated five opponents in the one-mile American Handicap May 25, will seek his most significant victory for owners Anthony Fanticola and Joseph Scardino and trainer Mike Mitchell. Joe Talamo has the mount from the outside post.
The 5-year-old Irish-bred gelding by Choisir won the American by 2 ½ lengths in a flashy 1:32.95 and figures to set a very lively pace. He is a seven-time winner from 14 starts, including a pair of Grade 2 wins last year as well, while earning $668,361.
Lucayan was second behind Obviously in his U.S. debut in the American, closing nicely for the runner-up spot while never threatening the winner.
Trained by Neil Drysdale for Pandora Stud, the French-bred 4-year-old son of Turtle Bowl captured last year's one-mile French Guineas by a neck at odds of 27-1. The second in the American was his best effort in four tries since, and he comes into the Shoemaker with three wins and three seconds from nine starts.
A win by Lucayan would be the fourth in the Shoemaker Mile for Drysdale. The Hall of Fame trainer scored with Labeeb in 1998 as well as Irish Prize (2001) and Aragorn (2006).
Za Approval, who has won three of four in 2013, will make his first start in California for owner-breeder Live Oak Plantation and trainer Christophe Clement. A 5-year-old gelded son of Ghostzapper, Za Approval enters off a pair of Grade 3 successes. The gray won the Appleton by one length March 30 at Gulfstream Park prior to a three-quarters-length victory in the Red Bank May 18 at Monmouth Park.
Wilkinson, who has won both of his races over the local grass, steps up after winning an optional claimer by a half-length May 2. Trained by Jeff Mullins for owner Edward K. Gaylord II, the biggest victory for the Kentucky-bred 5-year-old came in the 2012 American Handicap. Wilkinson won by 1 ¼ lengths at 44-1 odds in his first start for Mullins, who won the 2005 Shoemaker Mile with Castledale.