Jockey Julien Leparoux, the champion apprentice of 2006, earned the biggest win of his career, taking the $1-million CashCall Mile with a come-from-behind victory on 5-1 shot Lady Of Venice on Friday night at Hollywood Park.
Trained by Patrick Biancone for owner Martin Schwartz, the 4-year-old, French-bred filly swept past the Bobby Frankel-trained duo of Precious Kitten and 9-10 favorite Price Tag in the final sixteenth of a mile to win by 1 1/4 lengths. The final time in the grassy Grade II was 1:33.56.
The win was the seventh in 10 starts for Lady Of Venice, who may be a candidate to give Leparoux and Biancone their second consecutive victory in the $750,000 Beverly D. on Aug. 11 at Arlington Park. The duo teamed to win the Grade I with Gorella in 2006.
“When I asked her, she gave me a great kick,” Leparoux said. “It reminded me of when she won the Regret [by four lengths] last year at Churchill Downs.”
Precious Kitten, a 5-1 shot who set the pace under jockey Rafael Bejarano, outfinished her stablemate by a head for second.
Two races after the CashCall Mile, Somethinaboutlaura, the 5-1 second choice, won the $150,000 A Gleam Handicap and, in the first stakes race of the evening, Passified, the 9-10 favorite, survived a stewards’ inquiry to win for the third time in six starts in 2007, winning the $100,000 Flawlessly.
The richest of the three Grade I races on the program today at Hollywood Park isn’t necessarily the best race.
Although the $750,000 American Oaks is interesting because it brings together nine fillies bred in five countries, the $300,000 Vanity and the $300,000 Triple Bend Handicaps might have more quality.
The signature race for older fillies and mares at Hollywood Park, the Vanity features a rematch between Nashoba’s Key and Hystericalady, the first two finishers in the Milady Breeders’ Cup Handicap on June 3. Only two others will run -- Balance, who was a distant third as the 8-5 second choice in the Milady, and longshot Ballado’s Thunder.
Owned by breeder Warren Williamson and trained by Carla Gaines, Nashoba’s Key is unblemished in four starts, using a powerful late surge in her Cushion Track debut to defeat 9-10 favorite Hystericalady almost five weeks ago.
In the seven-furlong Triple Bend, defending champion Siren Lure will try to become only the second horse to win the race twice. Porterhouse won in 1955 and 1956 when the Triple Bend was called the Lakes and Flowers Handicap.
Claimed for $50,000 by trainer Art Sherman for owners Stuart Kesselman and Tony and Marilyn Melkonian a little more than two years ago, Siren Lure made 11 times that amount while winning five times in 2006, but is winless in three races as a 6-year-old.
Richard Migliore will ride the gelding, who will break directly outside the 123-pound highweight Surf Cat.
A lightly raced 5-year-old son of Sir Cat, Surf Cat, who is owned by trainer Bruce Headley’s wife Aase and Marsha Naify, has been away because of recurring foot problems since winning the 2006 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap nearly 14 months ago.