Grade I winners Hollywood Story and Island Fashion head a small but competitive field in Sunday's $250,000 Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) during the Oak Tree meeting at Santa Anita.
The six-horse field for the 1 1/16-mile main track test also includes Valentine's Dancer, bidding to become the richest California-bred female in history, and multiple graded stakes winner Star Parade.
The sharpest recent form could belong to Pamela Ziebarth's Healthy Addiction, who won back-to-back restricted stakes at Del Mar for trainer John Sadler. The Kentucky-bred daughter of Boston Harbor won the Osunitas Handicap on grass Aug. 10 and returned three weeks later to take the Adoration Handicap on the dirt.
Several in here are under consideration for the $2 million Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) at Belmont Park on Oct. 29.
Island Fashion, runner-up to Southern Image in the 2003 Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I), entered the Lady's Secret but the multiple grade I winner also was nominated to Saturday's Yellow Ribbon at 1 ¼ miles on turf.
"Her record on the dirt at Santa Anita is better," trainer Marcelo Polanco explained.
Craig Lewis says strategy will be simple for Valentine Dancer, who drew the inside post in the Lady's Secret. "She's going to either be stalking the pace or be on it, one of the two, depending on how the race develops."
Valentine Dancer, a 5-year-old daughter of In Excess
owned by Al and Sandee Kirkwood, has earned $1,139,126 from eight wins in 26 starts. That leaves her $236,339 behind Fran's Valentine, who is atop the earnings list for California-bred females. $250,000 Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II, Race 7, 3:37 p.m.), fillies & mares 3 & up, 1 1/16 miles
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Valentine Dancer (CA), 116, Jon K. Court
2. Hollywood Story (KY), 119, Victor Espinoza
3. Quero Quero (KY), 115, Tyler Baze
4. Island Fashion (KY), 117, Patrick A. Valenzuela
5. Healthy Addiction (KY), 115, Garrett K. Gomez
6. Star Parade (ARG), 114, David R. Flores