The field for the seven-furlong synthetic surface test lost three of the original Jan. 27 entrants. Dearest Trickski won the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Sprint a day earlier, while Kalookan Year and Missvinski were withdrawn from the make-up race. New York-based trainer Chistophe Clement added Society Hostess to the line-up.
The Santa Monica is one of five stakes on the Santa Anita program for Feb. 2, joining the $300,00 Strub Stakes (gr. II), the $200,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. II), the $100,000-added La Habra Stakes (gr. IIIT) and the $75,000 Thunder Road Handicap.
All eyes figure to be on Hystericalady, who lost the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I) on Oct. 27 by a neck. She makes her first start since that race for trainer and co-owner Jerry Hollendorfer.
The 5-year-old mare, also owned by Rancho San Miguel and George Todaro, has been assigned high weight of 122 pounds.
Hystericalady will be reunited with jockey Rafael Bejarano in the Santa Monica. They proved a potent pair in winning the seven-furlong Humana Distaff (gr. I) at odds of 7-1 by four lengths over Santa Monica rival Pussycat Doll May 5 at Churchill Downs. Hystericalady was ridden by Eddie Castro in the $2 million Distaff at 1 1/8 miles in which she got the lead in the stretch but bumped eventual winner Ginger Punch at the eighth pole before finishing second.
Prior to that defeat, she was beaten a nose by Tough Tiz's Sis in Oak Tree's Lady's Secret (gr. I) three weeks earlier at Santa Anita. The chestnut daughter of Distorted Humor will bring earnings of $1,158,503 from a 7-3-1 record in 15 starts into the Santa Monica.
Regular jockey Garrett Gomez rides Pussycat Doll, whose 2007 highlight was a four-length victory in the Santa Monica for trainer Bob Baffert. Now owned by Lael Stables, the 6-year-old daughter of Real Quiet closed out last year's campaign with a win in the seven-furlong Storm Flag Flying Stakes in the slop at Belmont Park Oct. 19. Assigned 119 pounds for the Santa Monica and breaking from the rail, Pussycat Doll, winner of the 2006 Humana Distaff, has captured seven of 17 starts and earned $797,183.
Society Hostess was originally set to run in the Wishing Well Handicap at about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course, but that race, too, was washed out Jan. 27. Moyglare Stud Farm's 6-year-old Seeking the Gold mare ran well in her only prior Cushion Track effort, a runner-up effort in the off-the-turf Monrovia Handicap (gr. III) at 6 1/2 furlongs Jan. 1. That was just her second start since winning the 2007 Monrovia. All 17 of her prior starts, including eight victories, came on the grass. Jose Valdivia Jr. retains the mount.
Silky Smooth switches from the lawn in her third start for trainer Jeff Mullins. The 4-year-old daughter of Mr. Greeley has been idle since a second-place finish in Oak Tree's Harold C. Ramser Sr. Handicap Oct. 14. She was previously trained by Mark Casse in Canada.
California-bred Overly Tempting, trained by Bruce Headley, and Intangaroo, conditioned by Gary Sherlock, are both coming off first-level allowance wins on Cushion Track.
$250,000 Santa Monica Handicap (gr. I, Race 7, 3:07 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 4 & Up, 7 Furlongs (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Pussycat Doll (KY), 119, Garrett K. Gomez
2. Society Hostess (KY), 117, Jose Valdivia, Jr.
3. Silky Smooth (KY), 115, Aaron T. Gryder
4. Overly Tempting (CA), 112, David R. Flores
5. Hystericalady (KY), 122, Rafael Bejarano
6. Intangaroo (KY), 112, Alonso Quinonez