Making her first start since finishing 16th in the $1.6 million Yasuda Kinen on turf in Tokyo in June, Island Fashion won a stretch-long duel with Elloluv and held off a flying Miss Loren for a half-length victory in the grade II, $250,000 Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup Handicap for fillies and mares. Island Fashion made a three-wide move for the lead on the last turn, engaged Elloluv in a stout battle through the lane and won a three-horse blanket finish over Miss Loren and Elloluv. Ridden by Kerwin John at 120 pounds for Everest Stables Inc. and trainer Marcelo Polanco, Island Fashion ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.43 and paid $7.40, $4.20 and $2.80. She raced coupled with fifth place finisher Sister Girl Blues.
Miss Loren, Jon Court aboard at 116 pounds, rallied from last and paid $6.80 and $4.80. It was head back to Elloluv, Nakatani riding at 118 pounds, and a $2.80 show payoff. Summer Wind Dancer, the 6-5 betting favorite, never threatened while finishing fourth.
It was the first Oak Tree stakes win and the first graded stakes win for John, who began riding in Southern California last November.
Island Fashion settled some three lengths off the pace as Barbara Orr, tracked by Elloluv, led the field through splits of :24.04, :48.31 and 1:11.90. The winner began to rally on the last turn and was game while turning back Elloluv and Miss Loren.
"I took her out on the backside, she got some dirt in her face and then she put me on the lead almost by accident," John said. "When I asked her down the lane she gave it to me."
A multiple grade I winner, Island Fashion has a 6-2-0 record from 15 starts and the $150,000 first prize pushed her earnings to $1,637,970. The 4-year-old Kentucky-bred by Petionville won the grade I La Brea Stakes and the grade I Santa Monica Handicap at the Santa Anita winter/spring meeting.
Polanco said Island Fashion would be pointed to the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) at Lone Star Park on Oct. 30(Chart, Equibase)