Can Hollywood Story Repeat in Hawthorne?

(from Hollywood Park report)
Defending champion Hollywood Story will attempt to snap a seven-race losing streak in Sunday's $100,000 Hawthorne Handicap (gr. III) at Hollywood Park.

Hollywood Story has not won since making a tremendous recovery after clipping heels on the clubhouse turn in the 2005 Hawthorne, but has posted each of her three career victories at the Inglewood track. She broke her maiden in the Hollywood Starlet (gr. I) as a 2-year-old in 2003, beat older fillies and mares in the Bayakoa Handicap (gr. II) in 2004 and won the Hawthorne last year.

The Hawthorne victory gave trainer John Shirreffs a double on the day, as it came a couple hours after he saddled Giacomo to win the Kentucky Derby (gr. I).

Victor Espinoza, who rode Hollywood Story to victory a year ago, has the call once again. He was in awe of the filly's effort after she clipped heels and almost fell early in the race.

"As soon as we clipped heels, she pulled my whole body to the front," he said afterwards. "My chest hit her neck. Then she pushed me back into the saddle. I saw the ground so close to my head that I could have reached out and touched it.

"A lot of times you may not believe in being religious," Espinoza added. "But when it comes to something like this, I feel that God protected me in this race. At that point, I wasn't even thinking about winning the race. I was thinking only about being safe; my horse felt good and I felt good.

"But by the time we got to the three-eighths pole, I was beginning to think maybe I could win this thing. Here I was just happy to be on the horse and it was looking like we could win. I started moving on her, and everybody else seemed to start slowing down. Wow, I'm thinking, I can win this thing. It sure made my day."

Hollywood Story, who has finished in the money in 13 of 21 starts, has earned $902,015 for George Krikorian. She will break from the three-post. The complete field for the 1 1/16-mile Hawthorne lines up as follows:

High weight Healthy Addiction enters the Hawthorne with two wins in three 2006 starts. She led from start to finish to win the Santa Margarita (gr. I) while making her most recent start on March 11. She is eight-for-18 lifetime for earnings of $630,837.

Star Parade beat Hollywood Story and Healthy Addiction two starts back in the Santa Maria (gr. I) and also won the Bayakoa Handicap at Hollywood in December. She has won eight of 30 starts for earnings of $1,100,419.

$100,000 Hawthorne Handicap (gr. III, Race 3, 2:20 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 1/6 Miles
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Santa Candida (ARG), 112, Octavio Vergara
2. Star Parade (ARG), 118, Martin A. Pedroza
3. Hollywood Story (KY), 118, Victor Espinoza
4. New Regina (BRZ), 114, Alex O. Solis
5. Freakin Streakin (FL), 115, Michael C. Baze
6. Healthy Addiction (KY), 120, Jon K. Court