Millionaires Intercontinental and Ticker Tape and horse-for-the-course Amorama headline a field of six for Saturday's $200,000 Palomar Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at 1 1/16 miles on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course.
Amorama owns a spotless record of two wins in two races over the Durante course, both in grade I events, and earnings of $420,000. Amorama, trained by Julio Canani, won the 2004 Del Mar Oaks and the 2005 John C. Mabee Handicap on July 23.
The 4-year-old French-bred daughter of Sri Pekan, who carries 119 pounds Saturday, likes to turn on the heat late to hit the wire first on a last-second surge. She won the Oaks by a nose over Ticker Tape; the Mabee by a head over Island Fashion. In between those wins, Amorama lost five starts.
In her most recent outing, Intercontinental finished third in the Mabee. In that race, said Humberto Ascanio, Bobby Frankel's assistant in charge of the Del Mar string, the 6-year-old Danehill mare didn't run her race.
"She was a little rank in the first part," Ascanio said. "Then she relaxed, but at the head of the stretch she had nowhere to go. But that's racing luck. I hope this time she gets a better trip, because she never got her chance to run last time."
Jerry Bailey comes in from New York to help give her the chance, replacing Alex Solis. The seven-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey and Intercontinental are not strangers. Bailey had the mount on the mare four straight times prior to the Mabee, posting three wins. The streak began with last year's Matriarch (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park and included this year's Jenny Wiley (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland and the Royal Heroine (gr. IIIT) at Hollywood. They were also second in Belmont's Just a Game Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIT).
Intercontinental, who carries top weight of 122 pounds, has career earnings totaling $1,133,263.
Ticker Tape's $1.3 million in earnings is tops in the field, but she is yet to win this year, failing in four outings. The 4-year-old daughter of Royal Applause had a huge 3-year-old season in which she won five of 10 starts, with three seconds and a third. Among her victories: the American Oaks (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park, Pucker Up (gr. IIIT) at Arlington Park, and Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (gr. IT) at Keeneland.
Her earnings were $1.1 million in 2004.
Considered dangerous is Cotopaxi, a second Canani trainee who was runner-up to Healthy Addiction in the Osunitas Handicap, a race in which Ticker Tape finished third.
The French-bred Flip Flop won a Del Mar allowance race in game fashion last time out and has two wins in three North America starts for trainer Ben Cecil.
Multiple graded stakes winner Katdogawn has been shipped west from trainer Wallace Dollase to his son, Craig, for the race, which will be run as the fourth on the card.$200,000 Palomar Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIT), fillies & mares 3 & up, 1 1/16 miles (turf)
1. Amorama, 119, Martin Pedroza
2. Intercontinental, 122, Jerry Bailey
3. Katdogawn, 119, Corey Nakatani
4. Cotopaxi, 112, Garrett Gomez
5. Ticker Tape, 117, Kent Desormeaux
6. Flip Flop, 116, Alex Solis