In late December of 2009, I entered a new face into my Equibase virtual stable with the following note: “2 year-old filly had a rocket up her ass in the Hollywood Starlet.” That may sound a little crude, but watch a replay of that race, and I dare you to disagree with me. The race was my introduction to a filly who would go on to become one of my very favorites, Blind Luck. I have yet to see another horse explode with that kind of rapid acceleration, or a turn of foot to cause a track announcer to lose his cool and screech, “Oh my goodness!” It was a performance foreshadowing her greatness to come, and still stands as one of her most impressive runs. The Hollywood Starlet marks the last grade I event for juvenile fillies this year, and there’s a good chance we might see another superstar emerge from its ranks.
This Saturday, a field of only five rivals has lined up to challenge Weemissfrankie, a New York-bred filly with a penchant for dominating her competition in the West. The talented daughter of Sunriver has 3 wins in 4 starts, with her only loss a third-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. She already owns two grade I victories—the Del Mar Debutante and the Oak Leaf Stakes, the latter of which was won at Santa Anita. As the only graded stakes winner in the field, it’s suffice to say she towers over the competition in the Starlet. Like Blind Luck, Weemissfrankie’s style is hanging near the back of the pack before turning on the after-burners. In her last victory, she flew out of the clouds to nip Candrea a jump before the wire. She put on similar runs in her maiden and in the Del Mar Debutante, though she took the Debutante by daylight. Could this late-running chestnut filly in pink silks be the second-coming of Blind Luck?
There are a few contenders in here who would love to have revenge on Weemissfrankie. Self Preservation has faced Weemissfrankie three times, and has yet to beat her. Still, she finished right behind her in second in the Del Mar Debutante and in fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. Self Preservation has only won her maiden, but shows potential if she could only escape Weemissfrankie’s shadow.
Charm The Maker has 2 wins in 3 starts, with her only loss coming to Weemissfrankie in the Oak Leaf, where she came in third. Charm The Maker won last time out over Killer Graces in the Sharp Cat Stakes at Hollywood. Killer Grace has a pair of overnight stakes victories at Hollywood, and is hoping to break a 4-race losing streak. Killer Graces finished 5th in the Del Mar Debutante.
Lady Pecan and Mi Vida could win this race if all the other horses ran the wrong way around the track. Maybe that’s too harsh. Let’s just note that Lady Pecan was fourth in the previously mentioned Sharp Cat Stakes, and only has a win in a Woodbine maiden claiming race. If she does manage to win this race, somebody will be cashing in a whopper of a ticket. The same goes with Mi Vida, who has run four times and has never hit the board.
In short, Weemissfrankie has nothing much standing in her way in the Starlet. Her biggest obstacle will be playing the chess match that is a small field, and overcoming a new track. From her past performances, it seems this filly can run on anything, so it would be no surprise if she turns out to love Hollywood. Remember who also loved Hollywood Park?
The Grade I Hollywood Starlet will be broadcast live from Hollywood Park on TVG. Post time is scheduled for approximately 7:37pm ET.