Grade I winners Teddy's Promise, Byrama, and Book Review head a field of eight for the $200,000 A Gleam Handicap July 13 at Betfair Hollywood Park, with the winner guaranteed a fees-paid berth in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.
Graded stakes winners Reneesgotzip, Rumor, and Winding Way help to make the seven-furlong Cushion Track event extra tough. In all, eight older fillies and mares are entered, with Teddy's Promise drawing the top weight assignment of 122 pounds.
The A Gleam is the eighth race on Hollywood's Saturday program, just ahead of the American Oaks, and has a scheduled post time of 4:35 p.m. PDT. The race is part of the Breeders' Cup "Win & You're In" challenge series for a Nov. 1 date at Santa Anita Park.
Teddy's Promise, whose most significant victory came in the 2011 La Brea Stakes, will be seeking her sixth win over Cushion Track for owner-breeders Ted and Judy Nichols and trainer Ron Ellis.
The 5-year-old California-bred daughter of Salt Lake was steadied repeatedly when third as the 4-5 favorite in Hollywood's six-furlong Desert Stormer Handicap June 16, her 10th start over the Hollywood Park main track. A nine-time winner from 24 lifetime starts, Teddy's Promise was fifth in last year's A Gleam.
The dark bay mare has been favored in her past five starts, winning three, including the seven-furlong Santa Monica Stakes Jan. 26 at Santa Anita. Regular rider Victor Espinoza is to guide Teddy's Promise from post 5.
Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners' Byrama cuts back in distance for trainer Simon Callaghan after a 6-1 upset at nine furlongs in Hollywood's Vanity Handicap June 15. Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, who rode the English-bred 4-year-old for the first time in the Vanity, has won the A Gleam a record seven times. His most recent victory in the race came with Alphabet Kisses in 2005.
The 3 ½-length victory came in the Vanity, Byrama's initial try over Cushion Track, snapped a six-race loss string, and was her fifth win in 19 starts. She carries 119 from post 2.
The last to win the Vanity and A Gleam in the same year was Dontstop Themusic in 1985.
Gary and Mary West's homebred Book Review is one of two entered by Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who won the A Gleam two years ago with Irish Gypsy.
A 4-year-old Giant's Causeway filly, Book Review has been on the sidelines since mid-February when she ran second as the 11-10 pick in the 1 1/16-mile Santa Maria Stakes. The Dec. 26 La Brea winner has excelled at seven furlongs with four wins from five tries.
Baffert is also represented by Patti and Hal Earnhardt's Maker Or Breaker, a 4-year-old Empire Maker filly. She is making her first sprint start since winning her debut at six furlongs nearly a year ago at Del Mar. Maker or Breaker will race without blinkers for the first time since her maiden bow.
Reneesgotzip, scratched out of the Princess Rooney Handicap July 6 because of transport problems to Florida, will make her first start of 2013 for Lanni Family Trust and trainer Peter Miller.
In her most recent start, the talented 4-year-old City Zip filly was second by a neck to Book Review in the La Brea. It was her third runner-up finish in a grade I event, following the Las Virgenes and Santa Anita Oaks earlier last year. In a season of near misses at the top level, she also finished third in the 2012 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint against males on the Santa Anita hillside course.
Reneesgotzip is undefeated in three starts over Cushion Track, including a victory in the Skillful Joy Stakes Dec. 1. Returning jockey Garrett Gomez has the call.
Rumor, fifth in last fall's BC Filly & Mare Sprint, has been away since finishing fifth of nine over a sloppy surface in the Humana Distaff on the Kentucky Derby undercard May 4 at Churchill Downs. Trained by Hall of Famer Richard Mandella for Ramona S. Bass, Claiborne Farm, and Adele Dilschneider, the 5-year-old Indian Charlie mare captured Santa Anita's Las Flores prior to the Humana Distaff.
Mandella is a two-time winner of the A Gleam but hasn't saddled a winner in the race since Survive in 1991.
Spendthrift Farms' Winding Way was fifth in the Desert Stormer in her first race since Oct. 7. Carla Gaines trains the 4-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon whose sole stakes win came in the Rancho Bernardo Handicaplast Aug. 19 at Del Mar.
Conkate, making her graded stakes debut for trainer Doug O'Neill, was claimed for $32,000 in February at Santa Anita and comes off a fourth in the Desert Stormer.