Pamona Ball, winner of the Sharp Cat Stakes here in her last start Nov. 1, jogged Wednesday at Hollywood Park for Saturday’s $421,500, Grade I Hollywood Starlet after being shipped across town Tuesday from Santa Anita by trainer Eoin Harty. She was scheduled to school in the paddock this afternoon, according to assistant Brian Ange.
Pamona Ball relegated two Bob Baffert-trained starters to runner-up status in the Sharp Cat, and Harty hopes for similar results when Pamona Ball lines up against two starters for his former boss in addition to four other formidable foes in the Starlet.
“The Starlet is the same distance as the Sharp Cat,” added Harty of the race scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on Cushion Track. “She didn’t have any trouble negotiating two turns in her last two starts. It’s just a big jump up in quality. Either she’s good enough or she isn’t.”
Pamona Ball seeks her third straight victory in her fifth start for Darley Stable. By Pleasantly Perfect out of the Hennessey mare Fireman’s Ball, the filly was purchased for $380,000 at the March Barretts Sale.
“She’s a very mild-mannered filly around the barn,” said Harty. “I expect her to be in mid-pack.”
Harty worked seven years as an assistant for Baffert before going on his own in 2000. The Dublin-born trainer was with Baffert when the white-haired trainer won the first of two Starlets in 1998 with Excellent Meeting. Harty showed he had learned his lessons well with 2-year-old fillies when he won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and an Eclipse Award with Tempera in 2001.
Pamona Ball will be ridden by meet leader Rafael Bejarano, who won the race last year aboard Country Star.
Baffert, who won a second Starlet in 2001 with Habibti, will send out Toro Bonito — second-place finisher in the Sharp Cat — and Wynning Ride in an effort to turn the tables on Pamona Ball.
Laragh, third-place finisher in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, was scheduled to arrive here today from New York for trainer John Terranova.
Dave’s Revenge and Black Magic Mama, fourth and eighth-place finishers respectively in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, were also entered.
Black Magic Mama, a maiden, was a surprise entrant. “She had a troubled trip in the Breeders’ Cup and finished second in a maiden race here after that,” said trainer Doug O’Neill. “She came back quickly in that maiden race and we gave her a good freshening.
“She’ll be forgotten (in the wagering) but she’s doing well enough to belong in there,” said O’Neill of the filly owned by J. Paul Reddam. Corey Nakatani, scheduled to return Friday from a broken collarbone suffered in a Santa Anita spill Sept. 24, has the call.
ROSARIO TO RIDE AZUL LEON IN FUTURITY
Joel Rosario, fresh off a five-win day at Hollywood Park and a $300,000 stakes win in Puerto Rico, has been named to ride Azul Leon in the $750,000 CashCall Futurity on Dec. 20, trainer Doug O’Neill confirmed Wednesday.
Azul Leon finished a closing second in the Hollywood Prevue Stakes on Nov. 23 after winning the Hollywood Juvenile Championship during the Spring/Summer Meet.
“I think winning on Slew’s Tizzy really helped,” said Vic Stauffer, Rosario’s agent, of a win in the Native Diver Handicap on Saturday aboard the 4-year-old colt trained by O’Neill for Joseph LaCombe, who also owns Azul Lion.
Rosario will be aboard the colt for the first time. Azul Leon is a son of Lion Heart, who won the race in 2003. The Grade I Futurity is at 1 1/16 miles on Cushion Track.
Slew’s Tizzy was one of five winners on the card for Rosario, who flew to Puerto Rico on Sunday to win the $300,000 Clasico del Caribe at El Comandante on Sicotico for connections from his native Dominican Republic.
“It was the first time a Dominican-based horse won that race,” said Stauffer. “Joel came back on Monday night with a trophy as big as he is.”
ENGLISH INVADER EXPECTED FOR FUTURITY
Axel Foley, unbeaten in two starts on a synthetic surface in England, is scheduled to be flown here next week and supplemented to the $750,000 CashCall Futurity on Dec, 20.
Axel Foley won two seven-furlong races at Lingfield on Sept. 16 and Oct. 15, respectively. The Kentucky-bred son of Officer is trained by John Best for Kent Bloodstock. He is scheduled to be flown here Monday and be stabled in the Doug O’Neill barn after clearing quarantine.
Axel Foley is named after the Eddie Murphy character in the film “Beverly Hills Cop.”
O’Neill explained the connections are the same through which he acquired Square Eddie, the runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile who is training here for a return in the San Rafael Stakes at Santa Anita.
FINISH LINES — Two other European horses are scheduled to be flown here next week for the $150,000 Dahlia Handicap, closing-day feature Dec. 21 for fillies and mares on turf. They are Don’t Forget Faith, trained by Clive Cox in England, and Belle Allure, trained by Rupert Pritchard-Gordon in France…Dancing In Silks is expected to be the starting high weight under 117 pounds and Joel Rosario in the $75,000-added On Trust Handicap for California-breds at 7 ½ furlongs Sunday. Other probable starters include Nikk’sgoldensteed, Jon Court, 116; Star Nicholas, Michael Baze, 116; Unusual Suspect, 116; Litsgoodlookngray, 115; and Partywithlarryz, Rafael Bejarano, 114. Golden Gate Fields-based Bamaha Breeze, unbeaten in five starts, is also under consideration with116 for trainer Steve Miyadi…Winchester, who finished sixth as the second choice in the Hollywood Turf Cup on Saturday for Irish trainer Dermot Weld, has been shipped to Christophe Clement in Florida.