Rivals Star Parade, Adoration Clash in Vanity

(from Hollywood Park report)
Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) champion Adoration, beaten twice by Star Parade before finally getting her rival's measure in their last meeting, will attempt to even the overall score Sunday in Hollywood Park's 250,000 Vanity Handicap (gr. I).

After becoming the queen of racing's championship day when taking the Distaff by 4 1/2 lengths at 40-1 odds last Oct. 25, Adoration twice fell victim to Star Parade. The 5-year-old Argentine mare, who recently was placed second behind Azeri in the Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) at Oaklawn, beat her nemesis at her own game with front-running victories in Hollywood Park's Bayakoa Handicap (gr. II) and Santa Anita's Santa Maria Handicap (gr. I).

Adoration turned the tables in the Santa Margarita Handicap (gr. I), also at Santa Anita.

The three encounters set the stage for Sunday's 63rd running of the1 1/8-mile event for fillies and mares that was won the last two years by champion older female Azeri, also named Horse of the Year in 2002.

Mike Smith, the regular rider of Azeri, will be aboard Adoration, the 5-year-old mare owned by Amerman Racing Stables who carries high weight of 122 pounds, five more than Star Parade in the compact field of six. Smith has an opportunity to become the first jockey to win three successive Vanities.

Trained by David Hofmans, Adoration has earned $1,638,856 from a career record of 6-2-1 in 17 starts. She hasn't raced since defeating Star Parade in the Santa Margarita on March 14. "She's ready to go," Hofmans said after the bay mare's final preparatory work on Thursday.

Trained by Darrell Vienna for Gary A. Tanaka, Star Parade had not won a stakes race in this country before she stunned Adoration at 12-1 odds in the Bayakoa while leading from gate to wire. She also won the Santa Maria in front-running fashion before Adoration was able to overtake her in winning the Santa Margarita by two lengths.

Star Parade proceeded to travel to Oaklawn Park for the Grade I Apple Blossom Handicap where she finished second to Azeri on April 3 after being bumped by disqualified runner-up Wild Spirit. Star Parade's overall record is 5-5-1 from 15 starts for earnings of $486,111. Victor Espinoza, who was aboard for her past three meetings with Adoration, will be in the saddle.

Hope Rises and Victory Encounter are 4-year-old fillies competing in their first grade I event. Hope Rises has won four of her six starts including a victory in the Santa Lucia Handicap at Santa Anita April 4. Victory Encounter has been victorious in six of ten races including the El Encino (gr. II) at Santa Anita.

$250,000 Vanity Handicap (gr. I), fillies & mares 3 & up, 1 1/8 mile
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight
1. Adoration, Mike Smith, 122
2. Coconut Girl, Javier Santiago, 112
3. Hope Rises, David Flores, 116
4. Star Parade, Victor Espinoza, 117
5. Victory Encounter, Alex Solis, 116
6. Beaucette, Matt Garcia, 108