Nereid makes her first start of 2012 in the Wilshire.

Nereid makes her first start of 2012 in the Wilshire.

Benoit Photo

Wilshire: American Oaks Winner Nereid Returns

Hollywood Park turf event marks seasonal debut for John Shirreffs-trained filly.

Nereid, who finished in a dead heat with Cambina in the American Oaks (gr. IT) last summer, returns to Betfair Hollywood Park for her 4-year-old debut in the $100,000 Wilshire Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the turf April 29.

For fillies and mares at one mile, the Wilshire is the eighth of nine races on Hollywood's Sunday card. Post time for the Wilshire is 4:40 p.m. PDT.

Trainer John Shirreffs has taken his time preparing Nereid for her initial effort of the season. Eric Kronfeld's daughter of Rock Hard Ten has posted nine published workouts over Hollywood's Cushion Track since Feb. 28. Her most recent start came when she was third in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup (gr. IT) at Keeneland last Oct. 15.

Nereid, who was bred in Kentucky by Mr. and Mrs. Emler Neuman, has won three of six starts in her career while earning $238,800. All of her wins came in succession on the Hollywood Park grass course beginning with a maiden-breaking tally in her second start last last May.

The 121-pound high weight, Nereid drew post 3 for the Wilshire and will be ridden for the first time by Mike Smith. Joe Talamo, who has ridden the dark bay filly in all of her previous starts, has been named on Briecat.

Up In Time and Wild Mia, both coming off big runner-up efforts in grade II events in their most recent starts, pose the biggest threats in the Wilshire.

Wild Mia was defeated by a half-length at 11-1 by Vamo a Galupiar in the Santa Ana Stakes (gr. IIT) March 25 at Santa Anita. She cuts back to the distance of her most recent win in the Redondo Beach last June. Trained by Jerry Fanning for Rosemont Stud Syndicate, Wild Mia, a 5-year-old gray daughter of Wildcat Heir, was beaten just a half-length when a fast-closing third in the Buena Vista Handicap (gr. IIT) Feb. 20.

British-bred Up In Time enters off a head loss to City to City in the Buena Vista following an eye-catching late run. A two-time graded stakes winner since coming to the United States, Up In Time is trained by Simon Callaghan for Lordship Stud and Three Chimneys Racing. The 4-year-old Numerous filly won the San Clemente Handicap (gr. IIT) last summer at Del Mar before taking the Ramser Stakes (gr. IIIT) during Santa Anita’a fall season.

Callaghan will be aiming for consecutive wins in the Wilshire after scoring a year ago with eventual Eclipse Award finalist Dubawi Heights. The last trainer to win the race back-to-back was Bobby Frankel, who won it three years in a row with Toussaud (1993), Skimble (1994), and Possibly Perfect (1995).

Callaghan also entered Irish-bred Imperialistic Diva. The 4-year-old daughter of Haafhd has one win in the United States, which came in an optional claimer last Dec. 17 at Hollywood. She is owned by Charles Winner, the newest member of the California Horse Racing Board.

David and Holly Wilson's Briecat will be seeking her third stakes victory over the Hollywood lawn for trainer Vladimir Cerin. The 7-year-old daughter of Adcat has won 10 of 32 races and banked $633,799. She won the 2010 Las Palmas Handicap (gr. IIT) during the Oak Tree/Hollywood Park meet, then last Dec. 7 edged Givine in the Cool Air Stakes.

$100,000 Wilshire Handicap (gr. IIIT, Race 8, 4:40 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 Mile (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Briecat (FL), J Talamo, 118, V Cerin
2. Antares World (CA), K Krigger, 115, S Specht
3. Nereid (KY), M E Smith, 121, J A Shirreffs
4. Quiet Oasis (IRE), B Blanc, 114, B D Cecil
5. Wild Mia (FL), D R Flores, 117, J M Fanning
6. Imperialistic Diva (IRE), E Flores, 112, S Callaghan
7. Up In Time (GB), J Rosario, 119, S Callaghan
8. Go Forth North (KY), V Espinoza, 118, A C Avila