Undefeated Star Billing, upset winner over Cambina in the Senorita Stakes (gr. IIIT) one month ago, faces her rival once again in the $150,000 Honeymoon Handicap (gr. IIT) at Hollywood Park June 11.
The 1 1/8-mile turf event for 3-year-old fillies attracted nine competitors. Part of a program that includes the Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap (gr. IT), also on turf, as well as two other stakes events, the Honeymoon is 10th on an 11-race card with a 4:15 p.m. PDT probable post.
George Krikorian's homebred Star Billing stalked the pace in the one-mile Senorita at odds of 8-1 and came home impressively by 2 3/4 lengths in just her second start for trainer John Shirreffs May 7. The daughter of Dynaformer began her career March 18 with a 2 1/2-length victory over maidens on Santa Anita's hillside turf course.
Star Billing is to be ridden for the first time by Tyler Baze and they'll break from post 3. Once again, she'll take on Entrustment and Cambina, who came from farther off the pace in the Senorita to finish second and third, respectively.
The Irish-bred filly Cambina had a three-race stakes winning streak ended in her first Hollywood Park appearance, beaten by three lengths by Star Billing while a 4-5 favorite. Trained by Jeff Bonde for a partnership that includes Anthony Bilich, Jason Cline, and George Schmitt, the daughter of Hawk Wing won the La Habra (gr. IIIT), China Doll and Providencia (gr. IIT) in succession earlier this year at Santa Anita.
The chestnut filly, who figures to appreciate the added furlong of the Honeymoon, began her career in Ireland with three wins in five starts. Her overall mark stands at 5-1-1 in 10 starts with a field-leading $252,426 in earnings. The 120-pound high weight will break from the far outside post with Joe Talamo aboard for the first time.
In her first Southern California start for trainer Paddy Gallagher, Entrustment edged Cambina for second at odds of 42-1 in the Senorita. Theresa and Edward Denke's daughter of Forestry won a first-level allowance on the Golden Gate Fields turf in her prior race April 3. Alonso Quinonez takes over.
Trainer Jim Cassidy, who won the 2010 Honeymoon with Evening Jewel, entered Singapore Lilly and Whisper Louise. If successful, Cassidy will become the first trainer to win the Honeymoon in consecutive years since Paulo Lobo, who won with Quero Quero in 2003 and Lovely Rafaela in 2004.
Irish-bred Singapore Lilly ran second against males in the Milan's Gran Criterium (Ity-I) last October, losing by a half-length. Owned by Jeff DeHaven, the Mujadil filly did not fare well in her United States debut, finishing last of seven after a slow start in the March 13 China Doll at Santa Anita.
Three Chimneys Racings's Whisper Louise, another Irish-bred filly, was a fast-closing second in her U.S. debut in the Providencia April 9, finishing three-quarters of a length behind Cambina. Shipped from England, the Chevalier miss has finished in the money in nine of 10 starts and will be looking for her third lifetime victory.
“I was very happy with her first start,’’ said Cassidy of the Providencia performace.
Bonita Star returns to California after a fourth-place finish in the Edgewood Stakes May 6 at Churchill Downs. Owned by Jim Ford and Ken Smole and trained by Jamie Lloyd, the British-bred daughter of Beat Hollow won an allowance at Santa Anita prior to finishing seventh in the Providencia.
$150,000 Honeymoon Handicap (gr. IIT, Race 10, 4:15 p.m.), 3-Year-Old Fillies, 1 1/8 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Sarah's Secret (KY), R Bejarano, 115, K Walsh
2. Entrustment (KY), A Quinonez, 116, P Gallagher
3. Star Billing (KY), T Baze, 118, J A Shirreffs
4. Whisper Louise (IRE), V Espinoza, 118, J M Cassidy
5. Singapore Lilly (IRE), M E Smith, 116, J M Cassidy
6. Slane Castle (KY), J J Steiner, 111, R W Leonard
7. Up In Time (GB), M Garcia, 113, S Callaghan
8. Bonita Star (GB), P A Valenzuela, 114, J Lloyd
9. Cambina (IRE), J Talamo, 120, J Bonde