Island Fashion to Tackle Males in Big 'Cap
by Blood-Horse Staff
Date Posted: 3/2/2004 7:34:41 PM
Last Updated: 3/3/2004 2:49:51 PM

La Brea Stakes winner Island Fashion will face males in the Santa Anita Handicap.
Photo: Benoit
Edited release from Santa Anita Park
Island Fashion, who has won consecutive grade I races at seven furlongs, hopes to make history Saturday by becoming the first filly to win the grade I, 1 1/4-mile Santa Anita Handicap.

"We're going (to run Island Fashion)," trainer Marcelo Polanco said Tuesday morning. "So far, yes. This race is worth a million bucks. If we went to Dubai we'd have to go across the water, so we decided to stay home for a race that's right here. I don't have a problem with a filly going against these kind of horses."

Island Fashion, a 4-year-old gray daughter of Petionville   owned by Jeffrey Nielsen of North Oaks, Minnesota, who races as Everest Stables, Inc., has a 5-1-0 record from 11 starts. She is coming off victories in the La Brea Stakes and the Santa Monica Handicap, both grade I. She won the grade I Alabama Stakes at 1 ¼ miles last August at Saratoga. Her earnings stand at $1,262,970.

There have been 40 female starters in the 66 previous runnings of the Santa Anita Handicap. Two have finished second -- Next Move in 1951 and Gamely in 1969. Two others have finished third -- Miss Grillo in 1949 and Two Lea in 1950. Other high finishes have been by Bed o' Roses (fourth in 1952) and Life's Magic (fourth in 1985) and fifth-place finishes by Silver Spoon (1960), Tallahto (1975) and Glorious Song (1981). The most recent filly to run was Serena's Song in 1996. She finished seventh. Bayakoa was 10th and last as the 19-10 favorite in 1990.

In another Big 'Cap development, trainer Paddy Gallagher said Domestic Dispute would pass the race in favor of the $6 million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) on March 27. Gary Stevens has the mount in the 1 ¼-mile race in the Middle East, Gallagher said. "That's what they (owners David Bienstock and Chuck Winner of Beverly Hills) want to do so Domestic Dispute is going over there," Gallagher said.

Probable for the Santa Anita Handicap are: Buddy Gil, Gary Stevens, 117; Island Fashion, Kent Desormeaux, 115; Olmodavor, no rider, 119; Pleasantly Perfect, Alex Solis, 123; Royal Place, Jose Valdivia Jr., 111; Saint Buddy, Tyler Baze, 111; Southern Image, Victor Espinoza, 118; Star Cross, Corey Nakatani, 114; and Toccet, Emile Ramsammy, 113.

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