March 3, 2024

Seven seek breakthrough in Hollywood Turf Cup

Dicey Mo Chara (center) just misses to Masteroffoxhounds (right) in the John Henry Turf Championship (Photo © Benoit Photo)

The $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup (G2), the Black Friday feature at Del Mar, has lured an eclectic cast of seven with no clear stand-out. Indeed, none has even won a stakes on turf.

Graham Motion always warrants respect in his West Coast expeditions, and The Grey Wizard brings notable form of his own. Two starts back, he was runner-up to Godolphin globetrotter Nations Pride in the Jockey Club Derby (G3). On the other hand, the Caravaggio gelding remains eligible for an entry-level allowance. In his latest at that level Oct. 21 at Aqueduct, he was along belatedly for fifth.

Dicey Mo Chara has been going close, missing by a half-length in third in the Sept. 3 Del Mar H. (G2) and coming up a neck shy in the Oct. 1 John Henry Turf Championship (G2) at Santa Anita. The Leonard Powell trainee was also a half-length second in his only prior at the 1 1/2-mile trip, the Mar. 22 San Luis Rey (G3). If that’s not compelling evidence that he’d move forward with added ground, he did earn a career-best 102 Brisnet Speed rating on that occasion. Yet the question remains if the Adaay gelding is destined to be a collector of minor awards.

Trainer Phil D’Amato has two logical players in Cash Equity, most recently fourth in the John Henry, and Prince Abama, placed in both the restricted Lure S. and the City of Hope Mile (G2). Cash Equity arguably has a better profile for the distance, considering that the import was pitched into last year’s Grand Prix de Paris (G1) by his former connections (and wound up 10th).

Lightly-raced Avenue was on an upswing for Michael McCarthy until attempting dirt in the Tokyo City Cup (G3), when he was eased and walked off. Back going long on grass, the son of Quality Road is liable to pick up where he left off – an allowance score over this course following a close third in the San Juan Capistrano (G3). San Juan fourth Dean Martini likewise comes off a dirt flop in the July 24 Cougar II (G3), although more could have been expected from a main-track veteran. He’s the only entrant with a stakes win on his resume, but that was the 2020 Ohio Derby (G3).

Go On takes a hike in class and trip following a one-mile allowance score, but the sometime turf sprinter by Nyquist looms as the controlling speed.