Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Rail Trip, a 4-year-old gelding, seeks his first graded stakes win Saturday in the $150,000 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on Hollywood Park’s Cushion Track. Trained by Ron Ellis for Jay Em Ess Stable, Rail Trip is undefeated in five career starts, including the Santana Mile at Santa Anita on April 4.
The Grade 2 Mervyn LeRoy is the first major race for older horses leading up to the $700,000Hollywood Gold Cup on July 11. Second in the series is the $250,000 Californian on June 13.
The race is named for one of the track’s organizers and its president for 34 years, until 1985. Mervyn Leroy epitomized the track’s connection to the Hollywood movie industry, having produced and/or directed more than 75 movies including The Wizard of Oz. He was nominated for four Academy Awards and won the 1945 award as Best Director for the movie The House I Live In.
Rail Trip’s competition in the Mervyn LeRoy includes Dakota Phone, a close second in the Daytona Mile under Rafael Bejarano; and Dixie Meister, who finished third.