Sharp Lisa, winless since winning the Las Virgenes (gr. I) as the odds-on favorite as a 3-year-old 12 months ago, gets another chance in Saturday's $250,000 Santa Maria Handicap (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park.
A 4-year-old filly who hasn't finished in the money in three graded stakes since her smart Las Virgenes score for trainer Doug O'Neill, Sharp Lisa faces eight rivals including the hard-hitting 7-year-old Star Parade, who won the 1 1/16-mile Santa Maria two years ago.
The Santa Maria will mark Star Parade's 18th successive race against either grade I or grade II competition. A victory on Saturday would elevate her to millionaire status for owner Gary A. Tanaka and trainer Darrell Vienna. The Argentine-bred has banked $935,419 from a career record of 7-7-4 in 28 races.
Star Parade returns to the main track after finishing a well-beaten tenth in the San Gorgonio Handicap (gr. IIT) over grass Jan. 8 to remain winless in five starts on turf. Prior to the San Gorgonio, she scored a four-length win in Hollywood Park's Bayakoa Handicap (gr. II). Her record over Santa Anita's main track is 2-2-0 in 5 starts. Martin Pedroza retains the mount.
In her last start, Sharp Lisa ran fifth in the seven-furlong Santa Monica Handicap (gr. I) Jan. 29, beaten by 11 lengths in her first try against older fillies and mares.
While Sharp Lisa will be trying to get back on track in the Las Virgenes, both Proposed and Healthy Addiction have been victorious in five of their last seven starts. Proposed has won her last two by a combined 7 ½ lengths for trainer John Shirreffs.
Healthy Addiction returned to action Jan. 19 for trainer John Sadler with a two-length score in the 1 1/16-mile Pasaena, her first start since finishing last in the Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I). She had won three in a row prior to that, capped off by a game half-length victory over Star Parade in the 1 1/16-mile Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting.
Hollywood Story will meanwhile be seeking her first victory at a track other than Hollywood Park while racing 19 times for Shirreffs. Her three wins include the 2003 Hollywood Starlet (gr. I). Garrett Gomez rides Hollywood Story for the first time in the Santa Maria.
Hollywood Story and Healthy Addiction were each assigned top weight of 117 pounds, one more than Star Parade.$250,000 Santa Maria Handicap (Gr. I, Race 7, 3:30 p.m.), fillies & mares 4 & up, 1 1/16 miles
Santa Anita Park - February 11th, 2006 - Race 7
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Seafree (KY), 111, Javier Santiago
2. Hollywood Story (KY), 117, Garrett Gomez
3. Sharp Lisa (KY), 115, Corey Nakatani
4. Proposed (CA), 115, Patrick Valenzuela
5. Healthy Addiction (KY), 117, Victor Espinoza
6. Musica Si (CHI) , 113, Alex Solis
7. Heavenly Humor (KY), 114, Kevin Krigger
8. Star Parade (ARG), 116, Martin Pedroza
9. Skipping Court (KY), 111, Kent Desormeaux