From The Horse’s Mouth: D’Amato Assesses His Hollywood Turf Cup Quartet

Phil D’Amato is ready to tee it up with a foursome and take a big swing hoping to find the ‘Cup.

But, rather than golf, the Thoroughbred trainer is sticking to his primary game and saddling four horses for Friday’s featured $200,000, Grade 2 Hollywood Turf Cup. D’Amato’s quartet for the 1 ½-mile grass marathon, all with different ownership going as separate betting interests, is comprised of Red King, Say the Word, Gregorian Chant and Acclimate.

“They’re all running,” D’Amato confirmed this morning. “They’re all kind of uniquely different horses and have different running styles and they’ve all trained well for the race.”

A capsule look alphabetically, with D’Amato’s comments.

Acclimate. A son of Acclamation and an Old English Rancho homebred, the 6-year-old gelding will be making his first start in over a year but last season here won the Grade 2, 1 3/8 mile Del Mar Handicap. “He had a bunch of little things to take care of and then it (comeback) got complicated by the COVID situation and the fires near Santa Anita,” D’Amato said. “One setback after another; but his last few works have indicated to me that he’s back close to being his old self.”

Gregorian Chant. The 4-year-old English-bred hit the board in his last three starts for owners Slam Dunk and Old Bones Racing and comes in off a third-place finish in the Lure Stakes at Santa Anita that produced a career-best Beyer Speed Figure. “He was gelded (in May) and he’s improved every race since,” D’Amato said. “We want to stretch him out (first time beyond 1 1/8 miles) and see what he can do.”

Red King. A victory this past summer in the Del Mar Handicap provided entrée to the $4 million Breeders’ Cup Turf at Keeneland. But things didn’t work out when he finished ninth of 10. “He needs some pace to run at and there was zero pace in the race,” D’Amato said. “We were stuck wide on a slow pace and couldn’t kick with those other really good horses. He’s back here now, happy and healthy and hopefully we’ll get the kind of effort we did last summer.”

Say the Word. The 5-year-old gelded son of More Than Ready, owned in partnership and bred by Sam-Son Farm, is a newcomer to D’Amato’s stable and comes in off a victory in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer at Woodbine. “He’s worked twice here and looked very good,” D’Amato said. “We’re looking forward to seeing what he can do.”

The field from the rail with jockeys and morning line odds in parenthesis: North County Guy (Mario Gutierrez, 15-1); Oscar Dominguez (Irad Ortiz, Jr., 15-1); Red King (Umberto Rispoli, 5-1); Say the Word (Flavien Prat, 5-1); Arklow (Joel Rosario, 5-2); Gregorian Chant (Ricardo Gonzalez, 20-1); Acclimate (Tyler Baze, 12-1); Laccario (Manuel Franco, 3-1); Ward ‘n Jerry (Jose Valdivia, Jr., 20-1); Proud Pedro (Juan Hernandez, 20-1); Marckie’s Water (Tiago Pereira 30-1), and Another Mystery (Mike Smith, 10-1). Listed as also eligible are Tartini (Tyler Baze 30-1) and Fivestar Lynch (Abel Cedillo, 30-1).

The post From The Horse’s Mouth: D’Amato Assesses His Hollywood Turf Cup Quartet appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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