Charlie Em and Scarlet Strike, just a head apart when one-two, respectively in the Senorita Stakes (gr. IIIT) last month, square off again in the $150,000 Honeymoon Handicap (gr. IIT) June 8 at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Eleven 3-year-old fillies are signed on for the 1 1/8-mile turf event Saturday, race 10 with a 5:30 p.m. PDT probable post time on Hollywood's Belmont Stakes Day card. The program also includes the $200,000 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap (gr. IIT) at 1 1/4 miles, which goes as race 4.
Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners' Charlie Em held off a steadfast charge from Scarlet Strike to post a 9-1 upset in the one-mile Senorita May 11 in her United States debut for trainer Paddy Gallagher.
The Great Britain-bred daughter of Kheleyf, a three-time winner from eight starts in her native country, had Garrett Gomez aboard for her U.S. bow but will be ridden by Victor Espinoza this time.
Gallagher previously won the 2005 Honeymoon with Three Degrees and again in 2007 with Valbenny.
Scarlet Strike, the 3-5 favorite in the Senorita, was wide throughout and rallied from fifth mid-stretch to just miss for Rafael Bejarano. He retains the mount for Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer on the Smart Strike filly.
Charlie Em and Scarlet Strike, who won the Providencia Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Santa Anita Park April 6, are the only stakes winners in the Honeymoon field. Scarlet Strike, who spotted Charlie Em four pounds in the Senorita, will give her three this time while toting top weight of 122.
Grade I-placed three times in her young career, Scarlet Strike has two wins from 11 starts for owners Hollendorfer, John Carver, and Green Smith, but has four seconds and five thirds while earning $352,340.
Hollendorfer also entered Macha, a New York-bred Majestic Warrior filly he owns with Smith. Macha won a first-level allowance by 2 1/2 lengths May 17 in her first start over the Hollywood lawn.
Senorita third-place finisher Kyriaki, who finished 1 1/4 lengths behind the first two for trainer Peter Eurton, returns for the Honeymoon. The Scat Daddy filly is on the improve after finishing sixth in the Providencia in her prior start.
Eurton won last year's Honeymoon with My Gi Gi and could be the race's first back-to-back winning trainer since Paulo Lobo in 2003-04 with Quero Quero and Lovely Rafaela.
Trainer John Sadler, in search of his first Honeymoon victory, saddles Sweet Red Cat and Scooter Bird. Sweet Red Cat, a daughter of Bluegrass Cat , was fourth as the favorite in the allowance won by Macha last month. Scooter Bird, a War Pass miss, broke her maiden by a nose at the Honeymoon distance May 17 in her fifth start on turf for Hronis Racing.
Hall of Fame conditioner Richard Mandella, who won the 1993 Honeymoon with Likeable Style, will be represented by Wertheimer and Frere's homebred Sarach. The Arch filly was fifth in the Providencia last time out.
$150,000 Honeymoon Handicap (gr. IIT, Race 10, 5:30 p.m.), 3YO Fillies, 1 1/8 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Somethingabouther (KY), D R Flores, 114, J M Cassidy
2. Scooter Bird (KY), K Krigger, 114, J W Sadler
3. Blingismything (KY), B Blanc, 114, J E Kruljac
4. Macha (NY), M A Pedroza, 116, J Hollendorfer
5. Scarlet Strike (KY), R Bejarano, 122, J Hollendorfer
6. Becky Lou (KY), T Baze, 115, M Chew
7. Wittgenstein (IRE), M Gutierrez, 115, D F O'Neill
8. Sarach (KY), M Garcia, 116, R E Mandella
9. Charlie Em (GB), V Espinoza, 119, P Gallagher
10. Sweet Red Cat (KY), A Quinonez, 115, J W Sadler
11. Kyriaki (KY), J Talamo, 116, P Eurton