Less than a month after upsetting odds-on Lady of Fifty in the Marjorie L. Everett Handicap, Open Water will attempt to do it again in her quest for a first Group 1 victory in the Vanity Handicap June 15 at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Those two 4-year-old fillies are part of an evenly matched field of six entered in the $250,000 Cushion Track event at 1 1/8 miles. The 72nd Vanity, a race with a glorious history, is the ninth on a 10-race card Saturday. It is part of a program that includes a pair of $100,000 stakes for 2-year-olds, The Willard L. Proctor Memorial (race 8) and the Cinderella (race 4) for fillies. Both juvenile races are at 5 ½ furlongs on Cushion Track.
In celebration of Hollywood Park's diamond anniversary, Hollywood Park will offer special 75-cent pricing.
Owned by Southern Equine, Mike Smith, and Whispering Oaks Farm and trained by Eric Guillot, Open Water defeated 7-10 pick Lady of Fifty by one length at nearly 10-1 in the 1 1/16-mile Everett. It ended her losing streak at eight races.
The 4-year-old daughter of Include used a four-wide move to get the lead approaching the eighth pole and held on gamely as Lady of Fifty attempted to close the gap. Jockey Joe Talamo, who rode Open Water for the first time in the Everett, has the return call from post 5.
If successful, Open Water would be the first horse to win both the Everett, which was the Milady Handicap prior to 2012, and the Vanity since Zenyatta in 2009.
Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who won the 2011 Vanity with Blind Luck, will be represented by Lady of Fifty and Irish-bred Esentepe.
Owned by Hollendorfer and George Todaro, Lady of Fifty has won six of 14. The 4-year-old gray daughter of After Market leads the field in earnings with $383,000. She starts from the far outside in the compact field and will have Rafael Bejarano back aboard.
Lady of Fifty was compromised at the start of the Everett when she tossed her head and fell 10 lengths off the pace at the first call. In her only other start over Cushion Track, Lady of Fifty won the Bayakoa Handicap by 3 ¼ lengths over Open Water Dec. 8.
A 4-year-old Oratorio filly who began her career in England, Esentepe comes off a decisive win as the 2-5 favorite in an allowance/optional claimer in her first start over Cushion Track May 9. Owned by William de Burgh, Esentepe finished fourth in the Wilshire Handicap on grass two weeks prior to her most recent start.
Trainer John Sadler, who won the 2004 Vanity with Victory Encounter, will send out 119-pound high weight More Chocolate, winner of the La Canada Stakes Jan. 20 at Santa Anita Park and most recently a troubled fifth in the La Troienne Stakes May 3 at Churchill Downs.
Owned by Michael Talla, the 4-year-old Malibu Moon filly will be making her first race over a synthetic surface. In the La Troienne, More Chocolate was bumped at the start and squeezed back. She weakened late after recovering from her earlier mishap to press the pace. Garrett Gomez, who was aboard More Chocolate for her La Canada win, jumps back aboard.
Byrama will return to a synthetic surface for Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and trainer Simon Callaghan after finishing sixth in the Humana Distaff over a sloppy track May 4 at Churchill Downs. She will race without blinkers in the Vanity.
The 4-year-old English bred daughter of Byron will be seeking to end a six-race losing streak in the Vanity. Byrama hasn't won since taking the Unzip Me Stakes last Sept. 29 at Santa Anita. Byrama was second, beaten by a neck by Last Full Measure, in the Madison Stakes April 13 over the Keeneland Polytrack in her most recent race over synthetic.
Royal Tiger, trained by Mark Glatt for owner-breeder Nick Cafarchia, will step into tougher company after winning an optional claimer by 14 lengths June 2.