Shirreffs Seeks Hollywood Finish in Bayakoa

(from Hollywood Park report)
Trainer John Shirreffs aims for his fourth Bayakoa Handicap (gr. II) winner in seven years Sunday at Hollywood Park when he saddles Hollywood Story in the $150,000 race for fillies and mares.

Hollywood Story, winless in six starts this year and only one-for-11 overall, finished her 2003 campaign with an upset victory in the Hollywood Starlet (gr. I). Prior to finishing 10th in the Oct. 30 Breeders' Cup Distaff at Lone Star Park, she was third while running 1 1/4 miles on turf in the American Oaks here in July.

Hollywood Story, who will be ridden by Victor Espinoza in the 1 1/16-mile event, is one of three 3-year-old fillies in the field of eight. The others are the highly regarded A.P. Adventure, winner of her first three career starts before finishing third in the Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I), and eastern shipper Essence.

A.P. Adventure has not run since a sixth-place finish – about four lengths behind fifth-place finisher Hollywood Story – in the April 30 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I). Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith as the call on the daughter of 1992 Horse of the Year A.P. Indy, who breaks from the inside post.

Padua Stables' Essence has made an interesting journey back to Hollywood Park. The 3-year-old filly broke her maiden at third asking on the Inglewood oval May 13 for trainer Bob Baffert before being transferred to Todd Pletcher in New York for a summer-autumn campaign. Pletcher shipped her west after she won the Anne Arundel Stakes (gr. III) at Pimlico on Nov. 20.

Shirreffs seeks to tie Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally for most wins in the Bayakoa with Hollywood Story on Sunday. Despite the lone win, she has been second three times and third three times for earnings of $553,605.

"Hollywood Story likes this track," Shirreffs said. "I've been fortunate to have some nice fillies that have won this race. It has nothing to do with me. I just happened to have the horse."

Shirreffs, who saddled Manistique to win the 1 1/8-mile race in 1998 and 1999, also connected with Starrer in 2002. Like Hollywood Story, Starrer campaigned for George Krikorian, who seeks to become the first owner to win the race three times. Starrer also won in 2001 when trained by David Hofmans.

Miss Loren, a 6-year-old Argentine-bred mare, has won one of six starts since being shipped from South America, where she won ten of 36 starts. She won the Clement L. Hirsch Handicap (gr. II) in August at Del Mar and was beaten just a half-length while finishing second to Island Fashion in the Lady's Secret Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita in October.

$150,000 Bayakoa Handicap (gr. II), filies & mares 3 & up, 1 1/16 miles
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight
1. A.P. Adventure, Mike Smith, 117,
2. Coconut Girl, Kent Desormeaux, 114
3. Keys to the Heart, Garret Gomez, 113
4. Essence, Corey Nakatani, 115
5. Royally Chosen, David Flores, 116
6. Born to Dance, Rene Douglas, 114
7. Miss Loren, Jose Valdivia Jr., 116
8. Hollywood Story, Espinoza, 115