Diamond Diva, shown winning the 2008 Wilshire, is back to defend her title in 2009.

Diamond Diva, shown winning the 2008 Wilshire, is back to defend her title in 2009.


Diamond Diva Returns for Wilshire Defense

Jim Cassidy-trained filly has been out since injuring herself last July.

Diamond Diva, last seen winning the CashCall Mile (gr. IIT) July 5, returns to the Hollywood Park turf course to defend her crown in the $100,000 Wilshire Handicap (gr. IIIT) on May 2.

Trained by Jim Cassidy, the 5-year-old Great Britain-bred mare has won two of three starts on the Hollywood lawn, finishing second to Precious Kitten in the Gamely (gr. IT) last spring in addition to her wins in the Wilshire and CashCall Mile, a race she won by a nose over the outstanding Ventura.

“She hurt a suspensory in that race,” explained Cassidy, who trains the daughter of Dansili for Three Chimneys Racing. “I stopped on her and gave her six months off. She’s gotten bigger and filled out well.”

Diamond Diva drew the rail for the one-mile Wilshire and will shoulder top weight of 120 pounds, spotting her eight rivals between three and seven pounds. Belmont Cat, upset winner of the Santa Ana Handicap (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita March 22, is among her chief rivals.

David Flores, who rode the dark bay in both of her Hollywood wins last year, has the call. Diamond Diva convinced Cassidy she was ready to go with a five-furlong workout on Santa Anita's Pro-Ride in 1:00 April 26.

After beginning her career in England, Diamond Diva enjoyed a strong four-month campaign in 2008, winning three of four starts. Her overall record stands at 6-5-2 in 16 tries with earnings of $721,285.

Belmont Cat will cut back in distance by a furlong in the Wilshire after springing a 9-1 surprise in the Santa Ana, which she won by a head over the late-charging Bel Air Sizzle, who is also entered in the Wilshire. The 5-year-old New Zealand-bred mare, owned by Doubledown Stables and trained by John Sadler, has three American starts, winning twice.

Bel Air Sizzle, a California-bred 4-year-old filly by Unusual Heat, returned to run a non-threatening fifth in the Fran's Valentine Stakes on the California Gold Rush program April 25. She could bounce right back for trainer Barry Abrams.

Tizfiz will also be shortening up after tiring in the 10-furlong Santa Barbara Handicap (gr. IIT) in her last start April 18. The 5-year-old Tiznow  mare won the San Gorgonio Handicap (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita in January for trainer Rafael DeLeon.

Corey Nakatani, who lost his mount in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) when Square Eddie  was withdrawn with an injury, gets the call on Gorgeous Goose. She should appreciate a little more distance after a fifth-place finish in the Las Cienegas (gr. IIIT) on Santa Anita's hillside course April 12. The 4-year-old daughter of Mongoose worked five furlongs on turf in a bullet :59 4/5 April 26 to the delight of trainer Mike Puype.

In My Glory should provide a solid pace.

$100,000 Wilshire Handicap (gr. IIIT, Race 11, 4:40 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 Mile (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Diamond Diva (GB), 120, David R. Flores
2. Miss Singhsix (IRE), 115, Alex O. Solis
3. Belmont Cat (NZ), 117, Joel Rosario
4. In My Glory (KY), 112, Martin Garcia
5. Kayd Kodaun (IRE), 113, Jose Valdivia, Jr.
6. Charming Legacy (IRE), 114, Tyler Baze
7. Gorgeous Goose (FL), 113, Corey S. Nakatani
8. Tizfiz (KY), 116, Agapito Delgadillo
9. Bel Air Sizzle (CA), 116, Michael C. Baze