Hollywood Story returns as the "house horse" Saturday when carrying high weight of 121 pounds in the $200,000-added Milady Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares at Hollywood Park.
Owned by motion picture theater magnate George Krikorian, the 4-year-old filly has demonstrated a strong affinity for her home racetrack. Each of her three career victories was achieved at Hollywood Park, where she is undefeated over the main track.
"Hollywood Story loves Hollywood Park," says trainer John Shirreffs, whose storied Giacomo stunned this year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) field. "This is her track."
Eight were entered in the Milady, with Hollywood Story breaking from the far outside post. Her opposition in the 1 1/16-mile test includes defending champion Star Parade, attempting to join five elite mares that have doubled in the event: Azeri, Paseana, Bayakoa, Adored, and A Gleam.
Although her overall record of 3-3-4 in 14 lifetime starts appears modest enough, Hollywood Story, with earnings of $738,585, seems a different creature at her home base. She was a maiden when taking the Hollywood Starlet (gr. I) as a 2-year-old. She did not traverse Hollywood Park's main track again until Dec. 12, when capturing the Bayakoa (gr. II) for her second career triumph.
Her most dramatic accomplishment, however, may have come in last month's Hawthorne Handicap (gr. III) with Shirreffs in Kentucky savoring Giacomo's Derby win. A couple of hours later, Hollywood Story clipped heels and nearly fell rounding the first turn, somehow righted herself and, although trailing by some ten lengths, rallied to win by 2 1/2. Victor Espinoza, along for the hairy ride in the Hawthorne, will be back aboard the Kentucky-bred daughter of Wild Rush.
Star Parade, victorious in last year's Milady by 3 1/2 lengths when favored, has not visited the winner's circle in five subsequent races. The 6-year-old came close to winning April's Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) at Oaklawn Park when losing by a neck to Dream of Summer.
Trained by Darrell Vienna for Gary Tanaka, Star Parade also has shown a fondness for Hollywood Park's main course, winning two of three starts including the 2003 Bayakoa. Her overall record of 6-6-2 in 21 starts has produced earnings of $766,961.
Coming off his first Gamely Handicap (gr. IT) win with the one-two finish of Mea Domina and Solar Echo, trainer Ron McAnally hopes he can turn around House of Fortune, the 4-year-old filly who has lost five straight since winning last June's Hollywood Breeders' Cup Oaks (gr. I). McAnally has won the Milady a record six times.
"She might have been a little short for the Hawthorne," McAnally said of a third-place finish in House of Fortune's last outing. "And she gets Alex (Solis) back on her. He rides her well."
Solis, who has been aboard the filly in five of her six career victories, will be reunited with House of Fortune for the first time since the Hollywood Oaks. House of Fortune is five-for-eight with Solis aboard, one-for-seven with other riders.
McAnally's Milady victories were achieved with champions Bayakoa in 1989 and 1990 and Paseana in 1992 and 1993, as well as with Brought to Mind in 1991 and Listening in 1997.$200,000-added Milady Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIT), fillies & mares 3 & up, 1 1/16 miles
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight
1. Star Parade, Jose Valdivia Jr., 115
2. Santa Candida, Omar Berrio, 113
3. Siphon Honey, Julio Garcia, 112
4. House of Fortune, Alex Solis, 116
5. Alphabet Kisses, Gary Stevens, 117
6. Festival, Danny Sorenson, 113
7. Andujar, Corey Nakatani, 112
8. Hollywood Story, Victor Espinoza, 121