ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 31, 2008) – Society Hostess won Santa Anita’s Grade III, $100,000 Monrovia Handicap in 2007, ran second in the event last year, and is the co-high weight in Saturday’s 42nd running of the stakes race for fillies and mares contested at 6 ½ furlongs over the track’s hillside turf course.

The lightly-raced 7-year-old mare could be considered a Monrovia resident. Since 2006, Society Hostess has competed in but three races other than her three appearances in the Monrovia Handicap.

Trained by Christophe Clement, the Moyglare Stud Farm homebred will face eleven rivals on Saturday including Grade II Hollywood Oaks champion Lethal Heat, a winner of four stakes races in 2008. Each was assigned 118 pounds.

Infirmities have restricted Society Hostess’s activity the last couple of years. After her runner-up effort behind Alexandra Rose in the 2008 Monrovia, the daughter of Seeking the Gold missed winning the Grade I Santa Monica Handicap by a nose before hitting the sidelines. She returned in August to finish sixth in Del Mar’s Grade III Rancho Bernardo Handicap. Society Hostess has not raced since, but she came back from freshenings prior to the last two Monrovians.

Jose Valdivia Jr., who has accompanied Society Hostess in her last three starts, will be back aboard the bay mare who has posted an 8-3-2 record in 20 career races for earnings of $424,940.

After winning her racing debut at Santa Anita last March, Lethal Heat won 6 of her 9 starts that included a pair of thirds while earning $426,528 for David Abrams, Madeline Auerbach and Tom Roberts. In addition to the Hollywood Oaks, stakes victories included the Grade III Santa Paula at Santa Anita as well as the Fleet Treat and Real Good Deal at Del Mar.

Since running third in the Grade I Del Mar Oaks on Aug. 16, the bay daughter of Unusual Heat has been given a break by trainer Barry Abrams. “She’s a really good horse,” he said, “and I wanted to start her fresh at the beginning of the year so I’d have a good horse for the rest of 2009.” Added Abrams, who has 40 horses in training, “She’s the best horse I have at this point.” Alex Solis will ride Lethal Heat for the first time in the Monrovia.

The complete field for the Monrovia Handicap, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Lethal Heat, Alex Solis, 118; Jibboom, Garrett Gomez, 115; La Tee, Joel Rosario, 115; Trouble Maker, Victor Espinoza, 116; Royal Taat, Rafael Bejarano, 114; Porto Marmay, David Flores, 114; Society Hostess, Jose Valdivia Jr., 118; That’s Hot, no rider, 115; Contentious, Brice Blanc, 113; Eletro Nuclear, Martin Garcia, 114; Ransom Captive, Mike Smith, 115, and Christiana’s Heat, Michael Baze, 113.

The Monrovia is carded as the eighth race on a nine-race program with first post at 12:30 p.m.