Charles Fipke's Java's War, winner of the Grade I Blue Grass Stakes April 13 and a troubled 13th in the Kentucky Derby, heads a field of five or six likely starters in the Grade II, $150,000 Swaps Stakes.
The Swaps, for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on Cushion Track, will be run Thursday, July 4, kicking off a loaded Fourth of July weekend at the Inglewood track. In honor of Independence Day, veterans and active duty personnel – with proper military identification – will receive free grandstand admission.
The Friday, July 5 program will mark the final night racing card at Betfair Hollywood Park. Post time is 7:05. A concert featuring 80z All Stars after the races are concluded and beer will be offered for $1 from 7-9 p.m.
Saturday, July 6, will feature the signature event of the Spring/Summer meet, the Grade I, $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup at 1 1-4 miles on Cushion Track. Defending champion Game On Dude is expected to head the field. A 75th anniversary commemorative DVD will be given away – one per paid admission while supplies last.
Trainer Ken McPeek confirmed to vice president-racing and racing secretary Martin Panza Thursday morning that Java's War will be arriving at Betfair Hollywood Park July 1 and will be stabled in the barn of Hall of Famer Jack Van Berg.
A son of War Pass out of the Rainbow Quest mare Java, Java's War has won three of eight starts with earnings of $672,091. He came to prominence last year with a fast-closing third in the Grade I Breeders Futurity at Keeneland. He hesitated and got away slowly in the Kentucky Derby May 4, all but dooming his chances in the 19-horse field. Julien Leparoux, who rode Java's War in the Blue Grass and Kentucky Derby, once again has the mount.
Other Swaps contenders include Tiz a Minister (trainer Paul Aguirre, jockey Corey Nakatani), who came from far back to win the Grade III Affirmed Handicap June 2; Power Broker (Bob Baffert, no rider), who won the Grade I Front Runner at Santa Anita last Sept. 29 and coming off wins at Churchill Downs and Belmont Park; Dice Flavor (Paddy Gallagher, Mike Smith), victorious in the Grade III El Camino Real Derby Feb. 16 at Golden Gate Fields; and Chief Havoc (Peter Miller, no rider), a dominating allowance winner May 30.
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