Top Foreign Fillies Invited to American Oaks

(from Hollywood Park report)
Dance in the Mood and Ask for the Moon, group I winners from Japan and France, respectively, head a list of 14 fillies invited to contest the third running of the $750,000 American Oaks at Hollywood Park (gr. IT) on July 3.

The list of invitations issued June 19 by Hollywood Park racing secretary Martin Panza includes three grade/group I winners, three grade/group II winners, two grade III winners and three stakes winners. California-bred Western Hemisphere and Super Bobbina from Italy are the only fillies without a stakes victory, but both are placed in grade/group II events.

The American Oaks, inaugurated in 2002, was granted grade I status for the 2004 running, its first year of eligibility for grading purposes. It is run at 1 1/4 miles on the lakeside turf course.

Dance in the Mood, a Japanese-bred by Sunday Silence, established herself as the leader of the 3-year-old filly division in Japan with victories in her first four races, including a group III event and the Japanese One Thousand Guineas (Jpn-I). She then finished fourth beaten about four lengths as the favorite in the Japanese Oaks (Jpn-I) at Tokyo Racecourse on May 23. She has earned $1,773,565,

French-bred Ask for the Moon won three straight races including a group I and group III before finishing seventh in the French Oaks (Fr-I) while making her last start on June 13. She has earned $193,132.

New Zealand-bred Boulevardofdreams broke her maiden in a group II race in New Zealand and was third in the Australian Oaks (Aus-I) in mid-April. Running on a soggy course June 12, she finished sixth in a race at Avondale, Australia.

The international cast also includes Britain-bred Misty Heights, a stakes winner from the barn of renowned Irish trainer Dermot Weld, who saddled 2003 Oaks winner Dimitrova. Misty Heights won her last start at 1 1/8 miles and has finished in the money in six of eight races.

The U.S. contingent is led by Lovely Rafaela and Western Hemisphere, one-two finishers in the Honeymoon Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIT) at Hollywood Park June 5. The margin was a nose after a thrilling stretch duel. Ticker Tape, less than two lengths back in fourth, was also invited to the Oaks.

Besides the Honeymoon trio, the U.S. invitees include Sister Star and Mambo Slew, winners of grade III turf races last weekend in Kentucky and New York, respectively.

Mambo Slew, trained by Patrick Biancone, won the Sands Point at Belmont Park, closing to beat favorite and fellow Oaks invitee Lucifer's Stone by a neck. In January, the daughter of Kingmambo beat Ticker Tape while winning the Blue Northerner at Santa Anita Park.

Sister Star, from the Ken McPeek stable, was a 3 3/4-length winner in the Regret Stakes at Chuchill Downs. Runner-up Western Ransom, who has not missed the money while winning three of seven starts, has also been invited to the Oaks.

Hollywood Story and House of Fortune, meanwhile, have won major races on the main track, but have not started on turf. Hollywood Story won the Hollywood Starlet (gr. I) last December, while House of Fortune has won Oaklawn Park's Fantasy (gr. II) and the Hollywood Breeders' Cup Oaks (gr. II) in 2004.

Here is the full list.

Name/Bred/Last Race
Ask for the Moon/France/France
Boulevardofdreams/New Zealand/Australia
Dance in the Mood/Japan/Japan
Hollywood Story/Kentucky/Hollywood Park
House of Fortune/California/Hollywood Park
Super Bobbina/Ireland/France
Lovely Rafaela/Kentucky/Hollywood Park
Lucifer's Stone/Kentucky/Belmont Park
Mambo Slew/Kentucky/Belmont Park
Misty Heights/Great Britain/Ireland
Sister Star/Kentucky/Churchill Downs
Ticker Tape/Great Britain/Hollywood Park
Western Hemisphere/California/Hollywood Park
Western Ransom/Kentucky/Churchill Downs