Hollywood Story, who returned from a layoff of nearly four months to be trounced in the Breeders' Cup Classic Distaff (gr. I), rebounded in a big way to win Sunday's $150,000 Bayakoa Handicap (gr. II) on her home course at Hollywood Park.
The John Shirreff-trained 3-year-old filly won only her second race – her last victory coming in the Hollywood Starlet (gr. I) almost a year ago. She lost six in a row in 2004.
"This is obviously her home track," Shirreffs said. "She was just ready for this race. She looked great in the paddock, carrying a good weight. As you've seen, she competes at a very high level. She's run a lot of good races without winning, so it always gave us the thought that she could compete at this level."
ShIrreffs equaled Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally's record four wins in the 1 1/16-mile Bayakoa. Winning owner George Krikorian won the race for fillies and mares for the third time.
With Victor Espinoza in the irons, Hollywood Story wound up four wide on the far turn after tracking the pacesetters, surging by Royally Chosen in mid-stretch. Under a hand ride she held off Royally Chosen and favored A.P. Adventure, who did not show her usual kick in her first start since April 30.
The winner was timed in 1:41.11 under 115 pounds
Hollywood Story turned the tables on division rival A.P. Adventure, who had defeated her in the Las Virgenes (gr. I) at Santa Anita in a spirited stretch drive in February. That started a year-long losing streak for the daughter of Wild Rush, which culminated in her 10th-place finish in the BC Distaff at Lone Star Park Oct. 30.
Hollywood Story stayed close to the solid pace set by Essence, ridden by Corey Nakatani, who clipped along at :23 3/5, :47 and 1:11 with Royally Chosen and David Flores pressing. On the turn for home, Miss Loren and Jose Valdivia Jr., swung up to challenge the frontrunners. But Hollywood Story soon joined them on the extreme outside.
Royally Chosen kept coming in the stretch after Hollywood Story got the lead and A.P. Adventure rallied between horses after angling out a bit for Michael Smith. But neither could match Hollywood Story in deep stretch. Miss Loren held on for fourth in the field of seven.
Hollywood Story, bred in Kentucky by Vinery, was produced by the Dynaformer
mare Wife for Life. She brought $130,000 at Fasig-Tipton in July 2002.
The victory, her second in 12 starts (with three seconds and three thirds), increased Hollywood Story's career earnings to $643,605.
The fifth choice, she paid $12.20, $5.60 and $3. Royally Chosen returned $5.80 and $3.40. A.P. Adventure's show was $2.60.
Shirreffs saddled Manistique to win the Bayakoa in 1998 and 1999, and also connected with Starrer in 2002. Krikorian campaigned Starrer, who also won in 2001 when conditioned by David Hofmans.