Noches De Rosa Takes Aim at Beverly Hills

(from Hollywood Park reports)
Chilean-bred Noches De Rosa, who toppled standout mare Megahertz in the Gamely Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IT) on May 31, will take aim at a rare double in Hollywood Park's $200,000 Beverly Hills Handicap (gr. IIT) for fillies and mares at 1 1/4 miles on turf Sunday.

The 6-year-old bay mare could join Manta, in 1971, and Astra, in 2002, as the only runners to win the track's two premier female turf events. She will carry high weight of 118 pounds against five rivals.

Trained by Hall of Famer Richard Mandella for Diamond A Racing Corp., Noches De Rosa has posted an overall record of 7-5-4 in 23 starts for earnings of $520,873. Her one-length victory over 3-5 favorite Megahertz in the Gamely was her first in a grade I in this country.

She was purchased early in 2002 after winning the Chilean Oaks (Chile-I) on Dec. 17, 2001. Mike Smith, who rode Noches De Rosa to a victory in Santa Anita's Santa Ana Handicap (gr. IIT) as well as in the Gamely, will be back aboard on Sunday.

The Beverly Hills is particularly meaningful to Mandella. His two 1990 entrants, Beautiful Melody and Reluctant Guest, dead heated for the victory in the race that year. Mandella has won the Beverly Hills a total of four times.

Moscow Burning, a 4-year-old filly who carries 117 pounds, has won five of ten starts since being claimed for $25,000 at the Bay Meadows Fair on Aug. 7. She registered her first graded stakes triumph when taking the Sheepshead Bay Handicap (gr. IIT) at Belmont Park in her last start on May 29.

Kent Desormeaux, who was aboard for Moscow Burning's 2 1/2-length win in the Fran's Valentine Stakes at Hollywood Park on April 24, will be reunited with the California-bred daughter of Moscow Ballet who was ridden by Smith in New York.

James Cassidy claimed Moscow Burning on behalf of owners Jeffrey Mariani and Michael Nentwig. Her overall record is 8-3-0 in 14 races for earnings of $487,165.

Brazilian-bred Notting Hill blew out three furlongs on turf in 35 3/5 seconds under Tyler Baze Thursday for trainer Jenine Sahadi.

Notting Hill, a 5-year-old daughter of Jules, comes off an impressive allowance victory on the Hollywood grass couse May 27. A group II winner in Brazil, she has recorded four firsts and three seconds in 12 starts.

Light Jig also drilled Thursday for the Beverly Hills, blowing out four furlongs on the main track in 48 for the Bobby Frankel stable. The 4-year-old Juddmonte Farms homebred also comes off an authoritative allowance score on theHollywood turf May 26 at the Beverly Hills distance of 10 furlongs.

The English-bred filly began her career in France before joining the Frankel stable at the end of last year. Winner of the Prix de Psyche (Fr-III) at Deauville, Light Jig has posted three firsts and three seconds in 10 starts.

$200,000 Beverly Hills Handicap (gr. IIT), fillies & mares 3 & up, 1 1/4 mile on turf
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight
1. Light Jig, Alex Solis, 113
2. Noches De Rosa, Mike Smith, 118
3. Notting Hill, Tyler Baze, 114
4. Moscow Burning, Kent Desormeaux, 117
5. Miss Loren, Jon Court, 114
6. Ardum Relaunch, Victor Espinoza, 112