King Glorious marks Hollywood finale - NBC Sports

King Glorious marks Hollywood finale
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December 20, 2013, 9:15 pm

Live racing at Hollywood Park comes to an end Sunday with an 11-race program highlighted by the $200,000 King Glorious Stakes. Named for the winner of the 1988 Hollywood Futurity, the King Glorious is for two-year-olds bred or sired in California and will be run at seven furlongs over Cushion Track.

Part of the Golden State Series, the King Glorious features a field of 11 and Aotearoa is the top draw. The stakes-winning son of Good Journey will cut back in distance and return to a synthetic surface for trainer Leonard Powell.

Prior to the start of Sunday's races, Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg will sign copies of his book "Jack: From Grit to Glory" at the Gift Shop. The signing is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. (PT). Commemorative pins honoring the Sunset Handicap will also be given away -- one per paid admission while supplies last -- on closing day.

Hall of Fame trainer Charlie Whittingham and owner Mary Jones Bradley enjoyed much success together at Hollywood Park over the years, including a 1973 victory by Cougar II in the Sunset. A Grade 1 winner on turf and dirt, the Chilean-bred Cougar II's one-length win over Life Cycle more than 40 years ago was the sixth of a record 13 Sunset victories for Hall of Fame jockey Bill Shoemaker.

There will also be drawings for gift cards and other special prizes throughout the day.

In addition to the King Glorious, the card includes a pair of $50,000 starter allowance races -- the Valley Lass and Auld Lang Syne.

The Valley Lass, which is for fillies and mares and will be run at one mile on turf, is named in honor of the first horse to win a race at Hollywood Park. A two-year-old California-bred filly, Valley Lass took the opener on June 10, 1938 as the 13-10 favorite under jockey Silvio Coucci. It will be the third race Sunday.

The Auld Lang Syne, which will be run at 1 1/16 miles on turf, will serve as Sunday's final race, climaxing 75 years of racing history and memories at the legendary facility known as both the Home of Champions and the Track of the Lakes and Flowers.

Aotearoa will make his first appearance on Cushion Track after finishing second behind Global View in the Grade 3 Generous Stakes on turf November 30.

The chestnut gelding has won twice in five starts, breaking his maiden by 4 3/4 lengths in his debut over the Polytrack at Del Mar and capturing the grassy Zuma Beach at Santa Anita on October 6. Corey Nakatani will be up.

Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer, who enters the final weekend of the season with a chance to set an Autumn meet record for most stakes wins by a trainer, will send out a pair -- Life Is a Joy and Pray Hard -- in the King Glorious.

Life Is a Joy comes off a pair of fifth-place finishes in two-turn races -- the Golden Gate Juvenile at Santa Anita on November 1 and the Real Quiet Stakes at Hollywood on November 23 -- after winning his first three races in Northern California, including the October 5 Charlie Palmer Futurity at at Fresno. Edwin Maldonado picks up the mount.

Pray Hard recorded three consecutive runner-up finishes before breaking his maiden by a 5 1/4-length margin on November 30. The gelding will have leading rider Rafael Bejarano in the saddle.

Other contenders include Alpine Luck and Better Bet, a pair of stakes winners from the Mike Harrington stable; and last-out maiden scorer Mass Transit.

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