Intercontinental and Ticker Tape will renew their fledgling rivalry in Saturday's 48th running of the grade I, $400,000 John C. Mabee Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course at Del Mar, with Intercontinental trying to make it three-for-three and Ticker Tape trying to break the spell.Those two, along with Island Fashion, headline a strong field of eight for the season's premier turf race for older fillies and mares. Actually, Island Fashion, owned by Everest Stables and trained by Marcelo Polanco, is the top earner of the three with purse money of $1.8 million. In her most recent race, she fell just a head short of Splendid Blended in Hollywood Park's grade I Vanity Handicap. The 5-year-old mare tuned up Thursday morning with a three-furlong work on the grass in 36.60Ticker Tape, owned by Forging Oaks Farm and trained by James Cassidy, carries the second heaviest purse with earnings of $1.3 million.On the other hand, Intercontinental shows a more consistent record with 10 victories, three seconds and three thirds in 18 lifetime starts. She comes to the race from a victory over Ticker Tape in Hollywood Park's grade III Royal Heroine Stakes, a win that pushed her beyond the million-dollar mark in earnings.Three races back, the Juddmonte Farms runner trained by Robert Frankel defeated Ticker Tape in the grade III Jenny Wiley Stakes at Keeneland April 17.Joining the top trio are Amorama, the 2004 Del Mar Oaks winner; Argentine-bred Halo Ola, making her third U.S. start for trainer Luis Seglin; Uraib, winless in her last four starts; Smokegetenyoureyes, stepping up from allowance ranks for trainer Jack Van Berg; and Winendynme, second to multiple stakes winner Megahertz in Hollywood Park's grade II Beverly Hills Handicap.
The field for the John Mabee, in post position order:
1--Intercontinental, 122, Alex Solis
2--Amorama, 115, Martin Pedroza
3--Ticker Tape, 118, Kent Desormeaux
4--Smokegetenyoureyes, 110, Tyler Baze
5--Winendynme, 115, Corey Nakatani
6--Uraib, 114, Jon Court
7--Island Fashion, 116, Patrick Valenzuela
8--Halo Ola, 114, Jose Valdivia, Jr.