The top mares could be joined by recent La Brea (gr. I) winner Dearest Trickski as well. The Florida-bred daughter of Proudest Romeo, a winner in seven of her past eight starts -- including the last four in a row -- is also entered in the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Sprint the preceding day.
Of course, it all hinges on whether Santa Anita's non-draining Cushion Track can handle the heavy storms expected in the region this weekend. Officials were forced to cancel its live program Jan. 24 when the track was hit hard by overnight rain and hail. Just in case the race goes, a field of eight older fillies and mares entered the seven-furlong Santa Monica.
Pussycat Doll won last year's Santa Monica by four lengths, the highlight of what was otherwise a disappointing year for the daughter of Real Quiet.
The 5-year-old Hystericalady would be making her first start for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer since her heartbreaking loss to Ginger Punch in the nine-furlong Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) at Monmouth Park Oct. 27. The daughter of Distorted Humor battled to get the lead in the stretch only to lose in the final strides by a neck. Prior to that defeat, she was beaten a nose by Tough Tiz's Sis in Oak Tree's Lady's Secret (gr. I) three weeks earlier at Santa Anita.
The chestnut mare, owned by Rancho San Miguel, Hollendorfer, and George Todaro, won the seven-furlong Humana Distaff (gr. I) by four lengths at Churchill Downs on the Kentucky Derby undercard last year, beating her rival Pussycat Doll handily. Hystericalady has won seven of 15 starts in her career while banking $1,158,503.
To be ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Hystericalady was assigned top weight of 122 pounds.
Pussycat Doll, a 6-year-old now owned by Lael Stables and still trained by Bob Baffert, won two of seven races last year, concluding her campaign with a win in an overnight stakes at Belmont Park Oct. 19. She gets three pounds from Hystericalady this time. Pussycat Doll has logged a 7-2-2 lifetime mark in 17 starts with earnings of $797,183.
The 4-year-old Dearest Trickski has been a marvel for trainer John Sadler since he claimed her for Tom Mankiewicz at Del Mar for $32,000 last August. Since then, the filly has won four in a row, including a gate-to-wire tally by 1 1/2 lengths in the La Brea. Career-wise she has won eight of 12 races.
After failing to fire in both of her two U.S. starts last fall, Missvinski gets a fresh start in 2008 for trainer Julio Canani. The 4-year-old daughter of Stravinsky was group I placed at Deauville in her final European start last July.
$250,000 Santa Monica Handicap (gr. I, Race 8, 3:37 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 4 & Up, 7 Furlongs (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Dearest Trickski (FL), 118, Mike E. Smith
2. Pussycat Doll (KY), 119, Garrett K. Gomez
3. Overly Tempting (CA), 112, David R. Flores
4. Silky Smooth (KY), 115, Aaron T. Gryder
5. Kalookan Year (CA), 113, Joel Rosario
6. Hystericalady (KY), 122, Rafael Bejarano
7. Missvinski (KY), 116, Tyler Baze
8. Intangaroo (KY), 112, Alonso Quinonez