On Sunday at Santa Anita, a Mexican-born jockey will jet back from Dubai to ride an Irish-bred filly imported from Italy for a trainer who hails from France.Silver Cup, who has put it all together in her last two starts, is the center of attention for all those involved. She's seeking her third straight graded stakes victory as the 118-pound high weight among nine fillies and mares in the $150,000 Santa Ana Handicap (gr. IIT) at 1 1/8 miles on turf.The 4-year-old filly, trained by Patrick Biancone for Floridian Martin Schwartz, has posted upset wins in the Buena Vista (gr. IIT) and San Gorgonio (gr. IIT) handicaps this year after a rocky acclimation period following her arrival last summer from Italy.Victor Espinoza, who seems to have found the key after first climbing aboard in the Jan. 8 San Gorgonio, is scheduled to ride provided he encounters no flight delays while returning from a Saturday assignment atop Choctaw Nation in the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I).Silver Cup's main opposition includes British-bred millionaire Ticker Tape, conditioned by James Cassidy, and Irish-bred Argentina, a highly regarded import from France saddled by trainer Bobby Frankel. Argentina, a 4-year-old daughter of Sadler's Wells, ran second to Divine Proportions in last June's French Oaks (Fr-I).Despite failing to reach the winner's circle in her first four U.S. races, Silver Cup has won 7 of 12 starts for earnings of $469,485. Ticker Tape, the most accomplished entrant with earnings of $1,432,396, captured 5 of her first 10 races in this country including the 2004 American Oaks before hitting a nine-race dry spell. She was second to Silver Cup in the San Gorgonio and subsequently won the ungraded Tuzla Handicap before she ran fourth, beaten 1 ¼ lengths, in the Buena Vista. Forging Oaks Farm's Ticker Tape has an overall record is 8-8-5 in 28 starts. All 21 of her United States starts have come in stakes races.Argentina has started but six times in France with two victories and three seconds worth $347,717. But the filly owned by Ecurie Wildenstein has faced some of the top fillies in France while twice finishing second in group I company. Unraced since last May at Deauville, Argentina has worked well for Frankel in preparation for her U.S. bow.
$150,000 Santa Ana Handicap (gr. IIT, Race 7, 3:30 p.m.), Fillies & Mares $ & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Royal Copenhagen (FR), 115, Tyler Baze
2. Katdogawn (GB), 116, Jon K. Court
3. Argentina (IRE), 116, Alex O. Solis
4. Tivadare (FR), 113, Jose Valdivia, Jr.
5. Ticker Tape (GB), 117, Kent J. Desormeaux
6. Sharp Lisa (KY), 114, Corey S. Nakatani
7. Beautyandthebeast (GB), 115, Garrett K. Gomez
8. Halo Ola (ARG), 114, Aaron T. Gryder
9. Silver Cup (IRE), 118, Victor Espinoza