Dave’s Revenge was dismissed at odds of 37-to-1 when she rallied from last place to win her debut at one mile at Del Mar on Aug. 31.
The 2-year-old filly was 64-to-1 when she rallied to finish a strong fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies on Oct. 24 at Santa Anita.
Dave’s Revenge is certain to be a much shorter price when she makes her third start in the $250,000, Grade I Hollywood Starlet at 1 1/16 miles on Cushion Track Saturday.
Hess gave the filly eight weeks off between her first two races and now seven between her second and third. “She’s worked three times at Santa Anita since the Breeders’ Cup, was shipped here a few days ago and will probably work Monday,” said Hess, who trains most of his horses at Santa Anita but keeps a division here with assistant Michael Ewing.
Hess has named Kent Desormeaux to ride the filly for the first time. Desormeaux has won the Starlet three times—with Love Lock in 1997, Excellent Meeting in 1998 and Splendid Blended in 2004—and seeks to equal the stakes record of four held by Corey Nakatani.
Dave’s Revenge, a Kentucky-bred daughter of The Cliff’s Edge, was purchased at the Keeneland 2007 September yearling sale for $45,000 by Dave Rippey of Del Mar.
“She was the second horse he ever bought,” said Hess. “He was going through a divorce, and this was his revenge. He bought three more yearlings this year, all with the name Dave.”
Dave’s Revenge is expected to face at least five rivals in the Starlet: the Bob Baffert-trained duo of Toro Bonito (David Flores) and Wynning Ride (Joseph Talamo), Sharp Cat Stakes winner Pamona Ball (Rafael Bejarano), Alpha Kitten (Mike Smith) and Eastern invader Laragh (Edgar Prado), scheduled to be flown here from New York Wednesday.
Smith picked up the mount on Alpha Kitten in place of Tyler Baze, who suffered three broken ribs and a fractured shoulder in a spill here Friday. The Anoakia Stakes runner-up worked Saturday at Santa Anita for trainer John Sadler.
Hess also hopes to enter Nikki’sgoldensteeed in the $75,000-added On Trust Handicap for California-breds at 7 ½ furlongs next Sunday.
The 3-year-old colt will make his second start back following an eight-month layoff. “I thought he was going to be a Derby horse but he used to jump shadows and he jumped about five times in the El Camino Real Derby and wrenched his left ankle,” explained Hess of the layoff.
Nikki’sgoldensteed finished second in the El Camino Real Derby at Bay Meadows in March, one month after winning the Turf Paradise Derby by 5 ¾ lengths.
“He healed without surgery,” said Hess of the gray/roan colt who returned with a fifth-place finish in a 6 ½-furlong allowance race here Nov. 1. “He needs to run farther than 7 ½ furlongs but I’m hoping his class will tell.” Regular rider Jon Court will be aboard.
FLIGHT CHANGE KEY IN ROSARIO QUINTET
Jockey Joel Rosario celebrated one of the biggest days of his career—five winners, including a graded stake Saturday at Hollywood Park—in an El Segundo restaurant.
“We stopped at the Macaroni Grill on the way to the airport last night,” explained agent Vic Stauffer Sunday. Rosario caught an 11 p.m. flight to San Juan, Puerto Rico, to ride in the $300,000 Clasico del Caribe at El Comandante today.
Stauffer credited his girlfriend Tina for making the memorable day possible. “There was a chance he wouldn’t have ridden any of them,“ said Stauffer. “His itinerary originally was to have him fly out Friday noon.”
With the opportunity for Rosario to ride in two graded stakes Saturday, Stauffer put his girlfriend to work finding later airline connections.
“What a wonderful day,” said Stauffer after Rosario recorded five firsts and two seconds on the nine-race card, mostly with longshots. “I was very surprised. Only one was the favorite.”
Rosario, a 23-year-old native of the Dominican Republic, highlighted his day by guiding Slew’s Tizzy to a $16.40 upset in the $108,200, Grade III Native Diver Handicap. He also won the first race on Savannah Peach ($8), the second on Echo West ($23.60), the fifth on Fire Wood ($19.60) and the ninth on Devive ($6).
In addition, Rosario rode Obrigado, a 22-to-1 longshot, to a second-place finish in the featured $250,000, Grade I Hollywood Turf Cup behind favored Champs Elysees.
Rosario equaled a personal best of five winners on one card — previously set at Bay Meadows and Golden Gate Fields — but this five-bagger produced easily the biggest payday.
“If you ride for the right barns, you’ll get winning results,” said Stauffer after two wins for Doug O’Neill and one each for Ted West, Bob Hess Jr. and Ron Ellis, all trainers in the top 10 at the current meet.
Stauffer said Rosario has taken calls to ride Dancing In Silks for trainer Carla Gaines in the $75,000-added On Trust Handicap next Sunday and Green Lyons for trainer Neil Drysdale in the $150,000, Grade II Dahlia Handicap, closing-day feature Dec. 21.
Green Lyons, winner of an allowance race in her last start here, worked seven furlongs on turf Sunday in 1:28.
AZUL LEON WORKS FOR CASHCALL FUTURITY
Trainer Doug O’Neill has already won two stakes at this meet for the Joseph LaCombe Stable, but both hope a bigger prize lies ahead.
O’Neill and LaCombe are targeting the $750,000 CashCall Futurity on Dec. 20 with Azul Leon, a closing second in the Hollywood Prevue Stakes in his last start Nov. 23 after winning the Hollywood Juvenile Championship this summer.
“He was just cruising,” said O’Neill after Azul Leon worked breezed four furlongs in :49.20 here Saturday under exercise rider Tony Romero.
Other Futurity probable’s include Chocolate Candy (Rafael Bejarano), Pioneerof the Nile (Garrett Gomez), I Want Revenge (Joseph Talamo), J.P. Jammer and Bittel Road.
O’Neill clicked Saturday with LaCombe homebred Slew’s Tizzy in the $108,600 Native Diver Handicap, winning in Cushion Track-record time of 1:46.78 for 1 1/8 miles.
Slew’s Tiznow, the 3-year-old full brother to Slew’s Tizzy, won the War Chant Stakes here Nov. 27 in Cushion Track-record time of 1:40.34 for 1 1/16 miles for O‘Neill and LaCombe.
FINISH LINES — Hollywood Gold Cup winner Mast Track was scratched from the Japan Cup Dirt this morning because of quarter cracks, according to owner-breeder-trainer Bobby Frankel, who sent out Champs Elysees to win the Grade I Hollywood Turf Cup Saturday…Tiago, third-place finisher in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, worked four furlongs in 49 breezing Sunday for the John Shirreffs stable.