Shippers Get Focus in Hollywood's Miesque

Keeneland maiden winner Assateague, Belmont invader More than Love head turf field.

An easy maiden winner over a yielding grass course at Keeneland Oct. 26, 2-year-old filly Assateague will step into stakes company in the $100,000 Miesque (gr. III) at Hollywood Park Nov. 25.

The one-mile grass test attracted seven other juvenile fillies as the annual Turf Festival at Hollywood kicks off. The Miesque, race 5 with a 2:35 p.m. PST post, precedes the $250,000 Matriarch (gr. IT) for older fillies and mares also at one mile. The Matriarch is race 9.

Trained by Michael Matz for owner-breeders Helen Alexander, Dorothy Matz, and Helen Groves, Assateague posted her  3 1/2-length Keeneland win in her third lifetime start. The daughter of Stormy Atlantic  began her career in August at Saratoga, where she was seventh in her debut at 5 1/2 furlongs. She followed that up with a much improved effort when stretched out to a mile at Belmont Park, missing by a nose when second Sept. 16.

Shippers have been dominant in recent years in the Miesque, including wins by The Mallet (2009), Habaya (2008), Sea Chanter (2007), Valbenny (2006), and Louvain and Paddy’s Daisy (2004) in split divisions.

Assateague retains the services of Julien Leparoux for the Miessque.

More Than Love arrives from the New York circuit. The More Than Ready  filly won once in two outings at Belmont Park during the fall for Newton Anner Stud and trainer John Terranova II. She comes off a one-length maiden score Oct. 9.

Irish-bred Island Paradise will be making her first start on grass in the Miesque, which is her United States debut as well. Trained by Charles Hills for Harlequin Ranches, Island Paradise has a win in two starts over synthetic surfaces in England.

Trainer John Sadler has entered a pair in Regal Betty and Katie's Ten. Both are emaking their grass debuts.

Michael Talla's Regal Betty was a maiden winner at Del Mar in her second start. The Congrats  filly then ran sixth in the Oak Leaf Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita and was most recently fifth in the Sharp Cat Stakes at Hollywood Park Nov. 13.

Ike and Dawn Thrash's Katie's Ten broke her maiden at first asking at Del Mar Aug. 19. The Rock Hard Ten lass returned to action Nov. 5 with a fourth-place showing in the Golden Gate Debutante Stakes over Tapeta.

Starship Flare, owned by Juliana Kretz, arrives from Florida to make her first start locally for trainer Kristin Mulhall. The daughter of Stevie Wonderboy won two of four starts at Calder and is coming off a sixth-place finish in a starter allowance.

$100,000 Miesque Stakes (gr. IIIT, Race 5, 2:34 p.m.), 2-Year-Old Fillies, 1 Mile (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Island Paradise (IRE), J Rosario, 116, C Hills
2. Your Special Day (KY), M E Smith, 116, J M Cassidy
3. Starship Flare (KY), V Espinoza, 116, K Mulhall
4. Regal Betty (FL), J Talamo, 118, J W Sadler
5. Katie's Ten (KY), A Quinonez, 114, J W Sadler
6. Assateague (KY), J R Leparoux, 116, M R Matz
7. More Than Love (KY), R A Dominguez, 118, J P Terranova II
8. Raesunbridledfaith (CA), M Garcia, 116, C A Lewis