Seven were entered for the CashCall Mile, a race sponsored by a consumer lender company founded by prominent owner J. Paul Reddam. The race was known as the Royal Heroine Stakes prior to 2006. Reddam is not represented in this year's race. The CashCall Mile is one of five graded stakes on the program, which includes three grade I events.
The French-bred Lady of Venice, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin for owner Martin Schwarz, ran second to Ventura in the Just a Game Handicap (gr. IT) at Belmont Park June 7. She found plenty of traffic trouble rounding the turn in the one-mile race and jockey Edgar Prado was forced to steady her on the inside. Once clear in the stretch, the 5-year-old finished with interest but wound up three-quarters of a length behind Ventura, who won the at odds of 9-1 for trainer Bobby Frankel.
“She had a rough trip in the Just a Game,” said Fidel Santiago, exercise rider of Lady of Venice, after she galloped one mile over the Hollywood lawn July 2. “She broke from the one hole, and turning for home, she had nowhere to go. When she finally found a hole, she was full of run. She was flying at the end."
Santiago also noted that Lady of Venice was compromised in her other start of 2008, when she rallied from eighth in the stretch after being forced 10-wide on the final turn of the 1 1/16-mile Jenny Wiley Stakes (gr. IIT) at Keeneland April 12.
“She was much the best in her last two races,” he said.
Trained by Patrick Biancone prior to last year's Cash Call Mile, Lady of Venice closed from near the rear of the pack to win with flourish by 1 1/4 lengths over a couple of Frankel charges, Precious Kitten and the favored Price Tag. That was her third successive victory for Biancone, who was later hit with a suspension for possession of a prohibited substance.
The chestnut daughter of Loup Solitaire was transferred to McLaughlin last October. She is in the midst of a five-race losing streak since capturing the 2007 CashCall, but has finished well in all but one of those efforts.
Lady of Venice, who began her career in France, has started 15 times at 10 different tracks. She has won seven races and earned $1,218,771. Alan Garcia replaces Prado on Lady of Venice, who must contend with the rail once again while toting co-top weight of 123 pounds.
Juddmonte Farms' Ventura, a 4-year-old Chester House filly that originally raced in England, will be making her fifth U.S. start for Frankel, all at different tracks. She won an allowance race on the Santa Anita hillside course in her American debut in March, then captured the Madison Stakes (gr. IIT) on the Keeneland turf course one month later.
After a third-place finish to Bayou's Lassie and Dreaming of Anna in Churchill Downs' Distaff Turf Mile (gr. IIIT) May 3, she defeated a 10-horse field in the Just a Game, a race in which she also encountered some traffic difficulty on the backstretch before getting the lead in the lane and holding on gamely over Lady of Venice.
Ventura has won six of 12 starts overall while earning $481,235. After a slow Hollywood Park season for the Frankel barn, things heated up considerably June 28 when his Mast Track, a horse the trainer bred and owns, upset the field in the $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I). Garrett Gomez, who has ridden Ventura in all of her American starts, has the call once more for the co-high weight.
Diamond Diva, trained by James Cassidy for Three Chimneys Racing, can put a bow on a strong Hollywood Park meet. The Great Britain-bred Dansili filly won the Wilshire Handicap (gr. IIIT) impressively to kick off the meet April 23, then ran second to Precious Kitten after being forced to set the pace in the five-horse Gamely (gr. IT) a month later.
Cassidy also entered Passified, who is rounding back into form after a layoff of nearly seven months. Winner of the San Clemente Handicap (gr. IIT) at Del Mar last summer, Passified comes off a 12-1 upset victory in the one-mile Redondo Beach on the Hollywood turf June 7. The favorite in that race, the Irish-bred Wake Up Maggie, also returns here for trainer Julio Canani after running sixth with a wide trip.
La Tee, second in the Redondo Beach, and grade III winner Super Freaky complete the field.
$750,000 CashCall Mile (gr. IIT, Race 7, 3 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Lady of Venice (FR), 123, Alan Garcia
2. Ventura (KY), 123, Garrett K. Gomez
3. Super Freaky (FL), 119, Rafael Bejarano
4. La Tee (WA), 119, Tyler Baze
5. Diamond Diva (GB), 119, David R. Flores
6. Passified (GB), 121, Mike E. Smith
7. Wake Up Maggie (IRE), 119, Joseph Talamo