I can’t see anyone other than Acclamation or Bourbon Bay winning today’s $250,000 Grade I Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap at Hollywood Park.
Those two have a huge class edge over the other four runners, and Acclamation loves the Hollywood Park lawn. He’s won four of seven at Hollypark and, with little speed in the race, is a huge threat to go gate to wire like he did last year while winning the stake.
Bourbon Bay can lay second or third and pounce in the stretch under Rafael Bejarano. He’s winless in four tries over the Hollypark turf course, but he’s class personified and trained by Hall of Famer Neil Drysdale.
The $70,000-added Cinderella Stakes is wide open, but give the first-time starter Chloe W a close look. The Eric Kruljac barn is sharp, and Patrick Valenzuela in the saddle doesn’t hurt the 2-year-old filly’s chances.
I like one of two Bob Baffert-trained runners, Coil or Awesome Patriot, to win the $100,000 Affirmed Handicap later in the card, and Star Billing looks tough in the $150,000 Honeymoon Handicap on the lawn.
Star Billing, by Dynaformer, has excellent turf breeding and is two for two lifetime. She comes into the race off a 2 3/4-length victory in the Grade III Senorita at Hollypark on May 7 and can come right back and make it three straight.