British-bred Ticker Tape, who became a millionaire at the age of 3, attempts to regain some lost luster on Monday when she faces a deep field of older fillies and mares in the $150,000 Buena Vista Handicap (gr. IIT) at one mile on the Santa Anita turf.
The 5-year-old mare took last month's Tuzla Handicap, her first victory in 11 starts since her brilliant 4-year-old season that included wins in Hollywood Park's American Oaks (gr. IT) and Keeneland's Queen Elizabeth II Cup (gr. IT). Along the way that year, Ticker Tape missed by a nose in the Del Mar Oaks (gr. IT) and a head in the Senorita (gr. III), capturing three other stakes races in the bargain.
Jim Cassidy, who trains Ticker Tape for Forging Oaks Farm, is hopeful that the bay mare has regained her confidence with the Tuzla win. It hasn't been for lack of trying, suggests regular rider Kent Desormeaux.
"She always lays her body down," says Desormeaux. She has finished second or third in five graded stakes since her sensational sophomore run.
Ticker Tape will have to be in top form. The Buena Vista Handicap drew a field of 13, including nine graded or group stakes winners and four other stakes winners.
Among the contentious field is the Irish-bred Three Degrees, unbeaten in two starts over the Santa Anita turf, and Irish-bred Silver Cup, who nodded Ticker Tape by one-half length in the San Gorgonio Handicap (gr. IIT) Jan. 8.
With earnings of $1,423,396, Ticker Tape is the field's most accomplished entrant. Her lifetime record is 8-8-5 in 27 starts that include seven races in England to open her career.
Three Degrees returns to the grass following an experiment on dirt in her last start which resulted in a seventh in the El Encino Stakes (gr. II). Trained by Paddy Gallagher for a partnership, the 4-year-old gray filly has posted an overall record of 3-3-1 in 10 starts for earnings of $259,559.
Silver Cup rallied strongly for her win in the San Gorgonio, which was her first in five U.S. races after beginning her career in Italy. The 4-year-old bay filly shows an overall mark of 6-1-1 in 11 starts for earnings of $379,485.
Toupie and Mirabilis were among the leading 3-year-old fillies in France last year. Toupie will make her U.S. debut for trainer Beau Greeley after registering a 3-4-0 record in 12 European races for earnings of $265,447. Juddmonte Farm's Mirabilis recently ran a close fourth in her U.S. bow for Bobby Frankel, an allowance event sprinting down the hillside turf course. Her overall mark is 3-2-2 in 11 races for earnings of $154,575.$150,000 Buena Vista Handicap (gr. IIT, Race 8, 4:10 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 4 & up, 1 Mile (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, ML Odds
1. Katdogawn (GB), Aaron T. Gryder, 118, 10/1
2. Halo Ola (ARG), David Cohen, 114, 30/1
3. Shining Energy (KY), Martin A. Pedroza, 115, 12/1
4. Beautyandthebeast (GB), Corey S. Nakatani, 115, 6/1
5. Three Degrees (IRE), Alex O. Solis, 116, 5/1
6. Flip Flop (FR), Tyler Baze, 114, 15/1
7. Ticker Tape (GB), Kent J. Desormeaux, 118, 4/1
8. Toupie (GB), Garrett K. Gomez, 118, 8/1
9. Awesome Lady (KY), Osman A. Cedeno, 112, 30/1
10. Mirabilis (KY), Patrick A. Valenzuela, 114, 6/1
11. Royal Copenhagen (FR), David R. Flores, 115, 15/1
12. Elusive Diva (KY), Jon K. Court, 118, 8/1
13. Silver Cup (IRE), Victor Espinoza, 116, 15/1