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Val Royal Heads Citation Field

November 23, 2001

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) _ Val Royal, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Mile last month, heads a field of 13 horses entered in Saturday’s $500,000 Citation Handicap at Hollywood Park.

Bidding for an Eclipse Award as this year’s outstanding turf thoroughbred, Val Royal will be ridden by Jose Valdivia Jr., and carry high weight of 124 pounds in the 25th running of the 1 1-16 mile race for 3-year-olds and up on turf.

Val Royal, a 5-year-old French-bred horse, has won seven of 10 lifetime starts and earned $1,108,444. Before winning the Breeders’ Cup Mile on Oct. 27, he won the Oak Tree Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita three weeks earlier.

``He’s the most talented horse I’ve ever had,″ said trainer Julio Canani, whose barn has included Grade I winners Silic, Ladies Din and Tranquility Lake.

Among the top challengers to Val Royal figure to be Irish Prize, who will be ridden by Alex Solis and carry 122 pounds, and El Cielo, with Garrett Gomez aboard and 120 pounds.

Irish Prize, fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, has won eight of 22 starts and earned $972,353. El Cielo, who has had his best success in shorter races, has won 13 of 19 starts and earned $651,375.

Miesque’s Approval and Paxtecum are among the nine 2-year-olds entered in the $200,000 Generous Stakes, a one-mile race on turf Saturday.

The Citation and Generous races are two of the six graded stakes events at Hollywood Park over the weekend that constitute the track’s annual Turf Festival. The $500,000 Matriarch Stakes and $500,000 Hollywood Derby are Sunday.

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