The three-day Festival will begin Friday, Nov. 28 with the Grade II, $250,000 Citation Handicap and continue the following day with a pair of Grade III stakes – the $100,000 Miesque and $100,000 Generous – for 2-year-olds. The former is restricted to fillies.
Among the 57 nominated to the 1 ¼ mile Derby, which was won a year ago by New York shipper Unbridled Command, are Rookie Sensation and Gabriel Charles, the 1-2 finishers in the Grade II Twilight Derby Nov. 1 at Santa Anita, Seek Again, a son of Speightstown who has won three of seven in England for trainer John Gosden, Admiral Kitten and Jack Milton, the 2-3 finishers in the Grade I Jamaica Handicap Oct. 5 at Belmont Park, La Jolla Handicap winner Dice Flavor and Infinite Magic, winner of the Grade III American Derby July 13 at Arlington Park for Team Valor International.
The 64 nominees to the one-mile Matriarch include defending champion Better Lucky, who paid a record $72.20 in 2012 for Godolphin Racing LLC and trainer Tom Albertrani, Discreet Marq, a double Grade I winner for trainer Christophe Clement, Dayattthespa and Pianist, multiple stakes winners for trainer Chad Brown and Tiz Flirtatious, a California bred who has won eight of 13 for owner-breeder Pamela C. Ziebarth and trainer Marty Jones.
Jeranimo, who won the 2011 renewal, is one of 42 nominated to the Citation, which is run at 1 1/16 miles. Other notable nominees are Indy Point, winner of the Grade II John Henry Turf Championship Sept. 29 at Santa Anita, Obviously, who captured the Grade II American Handicap and Grade I Shoemaker Mile during the 2013 Spring/Summer meet, and Za Approval and Silentio, who finished 2-3, respectively, behind 2012 Horse of the Year Wise Dan in the Breeders’ Cup Mile Nov. 2.
The Generous has 12 nominees, two more than the Miesque. The races are at one mile.
The Thanksgiving holiday weekend begins with the $100,000 Vernon O. Underwood Stakes, which will be run Thursday, Nov. 28. The program has a special post time of 11 a.m.
A Grade III at six furlongs over Cushion Track, the Underwood attracted eight nominations, including a trio – Five Palms, Roman Threat and Secret Circle – trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert.
Entries for the Underwood will be taken Saturday, Nov. 23 while entries for the Citation will be drawn Sunday, Nov. 24.
Fields for the Generous and Miesque will be drawn Wednesday, Nov. 27 and the Hollywood Derby and Matriarch will be drawn Thursday, Nov. 28.