Vienna Seeing 'Stars' at Hollywood Park

(from Hollywood Park notes)
Trainer Darrell Vienna hopes his Argentine-bred "Stars" align in two major stakes at Hollywood Park this weekend. Star Parade, a 5-year-old mare, is expected to be second choice to Adoration in the $250,000 Vanity Handicap (gr. I) on Sunday, one day after Star Cross attempts to regain his winning form in the $150,000 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap (gr. II).

"Both are doing well," said Vienna Friday from his base at Santa Anita of the pair purchased privately in separate trips to Argentina through Carlos Cambas, an Argentine veterinarian and bloodstock agent.

Vienna is optimistic that the front-running Star Parade can upset Adoration, who stalked her in the 1 1/8-mile Santa Margarita Handicap (gr. I) before passing her in the stretch for a two-length victory in their last meeting at Santa Anita on March 14. In two earlier meetings, Star Parade led all the way to defeat Adoration in both the Bayakoa Handicap here and the Santa Maria Handicap at Santa Anita, both at 1 1/16 miles. The Vanity is at nine furlongs.

"We were trying to slow the pace down when Adoration beat us in the Santa Margarita, and we won't do that again," said Vienna. "We're just going to let Star Parade go. We're not going to fight her. In addition, Star Parade has run very well at Hollywood Park."

Star Parade has raced once since the Santa Margarita, finishing third but placed second behind Azeri in the Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) at Oaklawn Park on April 3. "She was bumped pretty hard by Wild Spirit (who was disqualified from second to third after Vienna appealed to the Arkansas Racing Commission)," said Vienna. "She was off her feed for a couple of days."

The Argentine "Stars" are unrelated. Star Parade is by Parade Marshal out of Clerical Etoile and owned by Gary Tanaka. Star Cross, a 7-year-old horse, is by Southern Halo out of Other Star and owned by Ernie Auerbach's E.A. Ranches.

Star Cross was sharp earlier in the winter with victories in the Forty Niner Handicap at Golden Gate Fields and the San Pasqual Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita and a second in the San Antonio Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita. But he turned in disappointing efforts in the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) and San Bernardino Handicap (gr. III) in his last two starts.