Miss Vegas Repels Ticker Tape in Senorita

(from Hollywood Park report)
Irish-bred Miss Vegas, making her U.S. debut for trainer Bobby Frankel, set the pace and then held off favored Ticker Tape with a gritty effort to win Saturday's $108,900 Senorita Stakes (gr. IIIT) at a mile on the grass Saturday at Hollywood Park.

While her victory, with Alex Solis aboard, was a minor upset, 25-1 shot Pachiro connected in the nightcap to set up a $190,452 Pick Six carryover entering Sunday's program.

Miss Vegas, who provided Frankel with a record fourth victory in the Senorita, displayed the heart that helped her win five of six races in Italy, digging in through the final sixteenth to hold off Ticker Tape, the 6-5 choice in the field of seven, by a head.

Ticker Tape, aiming for her third consecutive stakes win, mowed down the field on the outside under Corey Nakatani, catching the leader inside the eighth pole. She briefly appeared to be on her way to victory. Miss Vegas did not give in, however.

"She was doing it on her own," said Solis, who missed the previous two days because of sinus problems. "She took the lead and relaxed. When that other filly came to her she dug in and fought all the way down to the wire."

Nakatani was more surprised than anyone with the response of Miss Vegas.

"I thought I had the winner measured every step of the way," he said. "But when I came to her, the other filly re-broke. She showed some real class because I thought for sure I had her."

Ticker Tape carried top weight of 121 pounds, six more than the winner.

Miss Vegas, owned by Edmund A. Gann, was the second choice at 2-1, and rewarded her supporters with payoffs of $6.80, $3.60 and $2.80. Ticker Tape paid $2.60 and $2.20. Amorama, third under David Flores by a nose over Winendynme, returned $2.60.

Miss Vegas covered one mile over the Lakeside Turf Course in 1:34.25 to improve her record to six-of-seven. Her lone defeat came last October when she finished third on a heavy course in Italy. The winner's share of $65,340 boosted her earnings to $212,942.

Assistant Humberto Ascanio saddled Miss Vegas in the absence of Frankel.

"I was impressed," he said. "My only concern was with the distance. I knew she was going to show speed, she's quick in the morning. I'm real proud, but it sure surprised me. I thought maybe (Ticker Tape) was going to go by, but she found another gear."

Miss Vegas earned a spot in the $750,000 American Oaks (gr. I) for 3-year-old fillies at 10 furlongs on July 3.

"She has the talent and she has the trainer," Solis said of the added distance. "I'm sure she'll move forward off of this race."

Tyler Baze, meanwhile, remained the hottest jockey at Hollywood Park, riding four winners Saturday, giving him nine for the week. He has ridden 13 winners at the meet and has climbed from a three-way tie for tenth in the standings to fourth place with Solis in just four days.

Baze, who had not ridden four winners on a card previously at Hollywood Park, connected on Charming Boy ($5.60) in the second race, Vencer ($11.60) in the fourth, Freedom's Key ($24.20) in the sixth and Victory Girl ($6.60) in the seventh race.

(Chart, Equibase)