Pesci Primed for First Stake Win in Hawthorne

(from Hollywood Park report)
Pesci, the promising 4-year-old filly and namesake of co-owner Joe Pesci, the Academy Award-winning actor, seeks her first graded stakes victory in Sunday's $100,000-added Hawthorne Handicap (gr. III) at Hollywood Park.

Pesci will face seven fillies and mares in the 1 1/16-mile event after coming within four ticks of the track record for the distance when timed in 1:40 4/5 while humbling an allowance field by 8 1/2 lengths on April 30.

Mike Smith will be aboard the Florida-bred bay trained and co-owned by Wesley Ward. They'll break from post position No. 6 and carry 115 pounds, one less than race high weight Summer Wind Dancer, also winless in graded stakes competition.

After winning her first two starts last winter by a combined 15 1/2 lengths, Pesci nearly lost her right eye when it became infected after being struck by a clod or rock during the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Distaff Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 24. She finished a badly beaten ninth in the race.

Following 10 weeks on the sidelines, Pesci returned to run third behind Hope Rises and Summer Wind Dancer in the Santa Lucia Handicap at Santa Anita on April 4. Her subsequent victory in the Hollywood Park allowance race flirted with a track record shared by three colts or geldings. Pesci's three wins in five starts have earned $99,147 for her connections.

A gray California-bred daughter of Siberian Summer trained by Jeff Mullins, Summer Wind Dancer has posted a 3-5-3 mark in 14 starts for earnings of $350,602.

Makeup Artist won the Senorita Stakes (gr. IIIT) on grass 13 months ago, but the John Shirreffs-trained daughter of Dynaformer has raced on dirt but once in five starts. She finished second in her racing debut on the main track.

The most accomplished runner in the Hawthorne field is Argentine-import Miss Loren, a 6-year-old who includes a pair of group I victories among her 10 wins in Argentina. She will make her U.S. debut for trainer Luis Seguin with a record of 10-9-5 from 36 races in South America.

$100,000-added Hawthorne Handicap (gr. III), fillies & mares 3 & up, 1 1/16 mile
PP., Horse, Jockeys, Weights
1. Sparkling Ava, Matt Garcia, 112
2. Summer Wind Dancer, Victor Espinoza, 116
3. Lady Thatcher, Jose Valdivia Jr., 112
4. Stormica, Alex Solis, 114
5. Makeup Artist, Javier Santiago, 115
6. Pesci, Mike Smith, 115
7. Miss Loren, Kent Desormeaux, 115
8. Honeypenny, David Flores, 113