Wide Open Field of 13 Contests Honeymoon

(from Hollywood Park)
Thirteen 3-year-old fillies are set to square off in Sunday's $175,000 Honeymoon Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIT) at Hollywood Park with no apparent standout among the aspiring cast.

The connections for the lightly accomplished group of fillies are hoping to attract invitations to the July 3 American Oaks (gr. IT).

Graded stakes winners Berbatim and Louvain share high weight of 119 pounds in the 1 1/8-mile turf event that can be expected to show off some of the contenders for the $750,000 American Oaks.

Berbatim enters the Honeymoon off a 2 ½-length triumph in Santa Anita's Providencia Stakes (gr. IIIT) at a similar distance on April 7. Irish-bred Louvain returns from over six months on the sidelines following a two-length victory in her U.S. debut, Hollywood Park's Miesque Stakes (gr. IIIT) at one mile last Nov. 26.

The Honeymoon will be the fifth race on a nine-race program that begins at 1:20 p.m. and offers another graded stakes as the eighth race, the $100,000 Desert Stormer Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares at six furlongs. Puxa Saco heads a field of five.

Berbatim, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Bernstein, raced four times in the Midwest before joining trainer Richard Mandella's stable. After breaking slowly and finishing third in Santa Anita's La Habra Stakes, she dominated under Alex Solis in the Providencia. She has earned $133,106 from three wins in six starts.

Bobby Frankel trains Louvain, who rallied boldly to take the Miesque after posting a 1-2-2 record in five starts in France. Owned by Edmund Gann, the bay filly has banked $87,143. Victor Espinoza replaces Maryland-based Ramon Dominguez in the saddle.

Whatever transpires in the Honeymoon can't necessarily be interpreted as a true barometer for the American Oaks. Ticker Tape, the 11-10 favorite, ran fourth in last year's Honeymoon before posting a 12-1 upset in the Oaks. Megahertz parlayed her 2002 Honeymoon win into a victory in the inaugural American Oaks, but only after the disqualification of Dublino.

Kick the Can comes into the Honeymoon following a pair of stakes wins in Arizona. British-bred Singhalese, a troubled fourth when making her U.S. debut in the Providencia, is trained by James Cassidy, who last year handled Ticker Tape. Three Degrees is an Irish-bred who won her first two U.S. starts before closing fast to miss by a nose to Virden in the May 8 Senorita Stakes at one mile. Gary Stevens is in from the East to ride Three Degrees for trainer Paddy Gallagher.

$175,000-added Honeymoon Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIT), 3-year-old fillies, 1 1/8 miles (turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight
1. Kick the Can, Jocelyne Kenny-Martin, 114
2. Unusual Spring, Omar Figueroa, 116
3. Isla Cozzene, Corey Nakatani, 113
4. Louvain, Victor Espinoza, 119
5. Berbatim, Alex Solis, 119
6. Three Degrees, Gary Stevens, 117
7. Royal Copenhagen, Rene Douglas, 115
8. Thatswhatimean, Jon Court, 116
9. Tivadare, David Flores, 116
10. Silver Wand, Garrett Gomez, 114
11. Singhalese, Mike Smith, 114
12. Royal Wave, Jose Valdivia Jr., 113
13. Dramatic, Tyler Baze, 114

Desert Stormer Handicap
Puxa Saco likely will rate favoritism in the Desert Stormer following a strong effort when third in the Humana Distaff Handicap (gr. I) at Churchill Downs on May 7. The chestnut mare, trained by Jenine Sahadi, fell three-quarters of a length short of overhauling victorious My Trusty Cat that day. Mike Smith has the return riding call.

$100,000-added Desert Stormer Handicap (gr. III), fillies and mares 3 & up, 6 furlongs
1. Quick Cover, Isaias Enriquez, 110
2. Abounding Truth, David Flores, 113
3. Puxa Saco, Mike Smith, 116
4. Ramatuelle, Garrett Gomez, 113
5. Tucked Away, Solis, 116