Rebounding from a 10th-place finish in the Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), Bickersons took the field nearly all the way in winning the $100,000 Moccasin Stakes (VIDEO) by 2 1/2 lengths at Hollywood Park Nov. 22.
Ridden by Joe Talamo, the Canadian-bred daughter of Silver Deputy bounded away from the field at the head of the stretch and won the seven-furlong Cushion Track event geared down in a sharp time of 1:22.49. It was the fourth of five victories on the day for Talamo.
The Moccasin is the top stakes prep at Hollywood for the $300,000 Starlet (gr. I) Dec. 20.
Based in New Jersey, where she trained for Kelly Breen and owners George and Lori Hall, Bickersons was stepping down in class quite a bit for the Moccasin following three consecutive grade I races, including third-place finishes in both Saratoga's Spinaway and Oak Tree's Oak Leaf at Santa Anita. But after tiring in the 1 1/16-mile BC Juvenile Fillies and finishing nearly eight lengths behind the victorious She Be Wild, Bickersons was overlooked a bit in the wagering, going off at 7-2 in the six-horse field.
She won the break for Talamo to get the early lead out of the chute while racing off the rail but gave way heading up the backstretch as Neeko, the longest shot in the field, came through along the inside to take over through an opening quarter-mile of :23.18. Pace was pedestrian as Bickersons rated in second before regaining the lead entering the turn. She completed the half-mile in :46.58.
Bickersons led a four-wide Crisis of Spirit out of the turn and when Talamo asked her to open up at the top of the lane, she quickly responded to take command by 2 1/2 lengths approaching mid-stretch. She won easily under a long hold as the 7-5 choice Crisis of Spirit dropped back.
"They went slow up front, I couldn't believe how slow they were going," said Talamo, who went on to win his fifth race on the program in the nightcap with A Jealous Woman. "But she kicked away very nice. She kind of toyed with them that last part."
Breen commented, “I had no excuse why she ran so bad in the Breeders' Cup, I wish I did. We had talked in the past about putting blinkers on her, but after today there's no reason to make any changes."
Speaking of the Starlet, he added, "We had a tentative plan to go back to our farm in Kentucky on Tuesday, but we might have to put that on hold.”
Miss Heather Lee, ridden by Victor Espinoza, was at the back after a slow start from the rail. She angled out a bit mid-stretch and proved second best by 2 1/2 lengths over second choice It Tiz, who rallied wide with Joel Rosario after she was shuffled back to last on the turn. Crisis of Spirit, favored following her win in the Anoakia Stakes at Oak Tree Nov. 1, finished fourth, another 2 1/2 lengths behind the show horse. Lt. Anne and Neeko trailed a well-spaced field.
Bickersons, who broke her maiden in her second start at Monmouth Park in July, picked up her second win in six lifetime starts and boosted her earnings to $149,180.
Out of the Paramount Jet mare Dancehall Floozy, Bickersons was bred in Ontario by Robert G. Harvey. The dark bay filly was an $80,000 buy at the 2008 Keeneland 2008 September yearling sale.
Sent off as the third choice, she carried 116 pounds and paid $9, $5, and $3.20 while keying a $47.60 exacta. Miss Heather Lee, making her stakes debut after back-to-back wins for trainer Bob Baffert, returned $5.40 and $3.60. It Tiz, fitted with blinkers for the first time by trainer Mark Glatt, was $3.20 to show.