Later today Hollywood Park offers the year’s final showcase for top 2-year-olds. Thirteen horses will line up for the Cash Call Futurity at 1-1/16th miles.

Two horses trained by Jerry Hollendorfer will vie for favoritism:

  • Tamarando (4-1), winner of the Real Quiet Stakes on this track in his most recent outing. He defeated Electric Eddie, who is winless in five starts, and Karma King, who ran away early with jockey Joe Talamo and faded badly late. In short, he defeated a weak field and qualifies as a false or vulnerable favorite.
  • Shared Belief (7-2), who is 2 for 2 lifetime but has yet to run a two-turn race. He drew away impressively in both sprint wins and now stretches out for a trainer (Hollendorfer) who boasts a 27% success rate with horses trying a route for the first time.

I will toss out Tamarando and the two horses returning from losing efforts in the slowly run Breeders Cup Juvenile: Tap It Rich and Bond Holder.

Shared Belief flashed tremendous talent in his wins and today faces a field full of slow-early horses. The top speedster, Karma King, quit badly in his first try around two turns and looks a cut below the top horses here. Shared Belief can probably sit patiently behind that one and comfortably in front of the others. That’s a nice spot! The problem is the price. At 7-2, you take on the risk that he won’t handle the distance. Does the reward justify that risk? I tend to think so, but I’ll back off at odds lower than that.

If you don’t like those odds, consider Poker Player (15-1), who looks like the best value among the late runners. His one try on synthetic surfaces resulted in an impressive win in the Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland. At 15-1, the risk/reward proposition with him is enticing.

UPDATE: Poker Player has been scratched.