The Polytrack test at 1 1/16 miles drew a field of six.
“She’s doing great here,” Hofmans said of the dual grade I winner, adding, “She loves this track. She had a great work over it (1:01 1/5 Aug. 31). I was very happy with that and Victor (Espinoza, her jockey) was happy, too.”
Although she's ultra-consistent, Hofmans nevertheless knows she’ll need all her powers to overcome Nashoba’s Key. Both pursue the pace from stalking positions, but Nashoba’s Key has shown a superior turn of foot down the stretch. In their last meeting, Nashoba's Key rallied along the rail for Joe Talamo to defeat Balance and Espinoza by three-quarters of a length in the Vanity Handicap (gr. I) on the Hollywood Park Cushion Track July 7.
Nashoba's Key also defeated Balance in the Milady Breeders' Cup (gr. II) at Hollywood.
“I’m a little upset by the weights,” Hofmans said. “I thought the filly that’s beaten us twice should have been a little closer to us in weight.” Balance is high-weighted at 122 and Nashoba’s Key will carry 120. Talamo will again be aboard Nashoba's Key.
The versatile Nashoba’s Key, with three victories on grass and two on Hollywood Park’s Cushion Track, was also nominated to the Aug. 4 $400,000 John C. Mabee (gr. IT) at 1 1/8 miles on the Del Mar turf. Trainer Carla Gaines opted for the Hirsch at the last moment.
Somethinaboutlaura brings a three-race win streak into the Hirsch. She has shown in the past she can either run on the lead or press the pace for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. She’ll carry 119 pounds.
With three wins in her last four starts, including the Hollywood Breeders’ Cup Oaks (gr. II) in her most recent try, 3-year-old Tough Tiz’s Sis could be a danger against the older horses. She carries a light impost of 113.
Bai and Bai, trained by Craig Dollase, and the A.C. Avila-conditioned River Savage, round out the sextet, each carrying 114 pounds.
$300,000 Clement L. Hirsch Handicap (gr. II, Race 8, 5:30 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 1/16 Miles (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Nashoba's Key (CA), 120, Joseph Talamo
2. Tough Tiz's Sis (KY), 113, David R. Flores
3. Balance (KY), 122, Victor Espinoza
4. Bai and Bai (CA), 114, Aaron T. Gryder
5. River Savage (BRZ), 114, Omar A. Berrio
6. Somethinaboutlaura (CA), 119, Michael C. Baze