Friday, July 19, 1996

By Mark Midland


Trainer D. Wayne Lukas is pointing for a second straight championship with Serena's Song, and Sunday's match-up with Twice The Vice in the $250,000 Vanity Hanidcap (Gr. I) is sure to have championship implications.

"This is one of those real exciting races," Lukas said. "We have a Grade I with probably the best collection of fillies that you could put together. Twice The Vice and Serena's Song certainly make for an interesting matchup."

Serena's Song and Twice The Vice, who have split two decisions this year, are the current front-runners for end of the year Eclipse Award honors.

Serena's Song defeated her rival in the Mar. 10 Santa Maria Handicap (Gr. I) at Santa Anita, but Twice The Vice reversed the decision in the Apr. 12 Apple Blossom (Gr. I) at Oaklawn Park.

"Her professionalism gives her an advantage," Lukas said of his 4-year-old filly. "If you watch (the Hempstead Handicap), there was some speed in that race and it was a one-turn race. She probably could have taken the lead at any time, but (Jerry) Bailey just sat there and clocked them until he got halfway around the far turn, then he just kicked it in and went home."

The Rahy filly has more speed than most of her competition.

"Her ability to either lay back, go to the lead, come from behind -- her tactical speed -- is what makes her so tough," Lukas explained, "and also the fact that she doesn't throw in bad races -- except on off-tracks."

As Sandpit goes for a Caesars series sweep for the second year in a row, his main opposition in Sunday's $700,000 Caesars Palace Turf Championship could come from the 5-year-old mare Windsharp. Trainer Wally Dollase has no second thoughts about sending his mare up against the classy Sandpit.

"(Windsharp) is a little fresh, but a mile-and-a-half is her best race," Dollase said. "We get a nice break in the races being a female, but she races like a male."

The daughter of Lear Fan is out of a Sharpen Up mare, and is bred to relish the 1 1/2 mile distance.

"(Windsharp) certainly has the stamina to go this far," Dollase explained. "Her respiratory system is just superior to other animals."

The gutty mare rallied in the final strides to post narrow victories in the San Luis Obispo Handicap (Gr. II) and San Luis Rey Stakes (Gr. I) this winter, both at 1 1/2 miles over the Santa Anita turf course.

"She's extremely determined, very tenacious," he said. "Some horses slow down when they get tired, but she has the will to carry on. She's bred to go the distance."

Dollase has plenty of respect for Sandpit, who captured the 1995 edition of the contest.

"(Sandpit) is a great horse," he said. "Now that he's rating, he's probably a better horse. And he's more effective at a mile-and-a-half."

In other developments:

Lassigny and Awad, who arrived Wednesday afternoon from New York, both galloped over the main track Friday morning.

Post positions from the rail out for the Caesars Palace Turf Championship, to be run Sunday, July 21 at 1 1/2 miles on the turf: Lassigny, Jerry Bailey, 116, 6-1; Awad, Chris McCarron, 117, 5-1; Talloires, Kent Desormeaux, 116, 20-1; Windsharp, Eddie Delahoussaye, 116, 3-1; Special Price, Rene Douglas, 116, 6-1; Time Star, Corey Black, 115, 8-1, and Sandpit, Corey Nakatani, 125, 7-5.

Twice The Vice enters Sunday's $250,000 Vanity Handicap (Gr. I) off three consecutive Grade I wins, but trainer Ron Ellis feels his 5-year-old mare can top her previous efforts in Sunday's contest.

"She is really coming up to a peak race right now," Ellis said. "If my mare tops her last races, she'll be very tough to beat."

Ellis has been pointing Twice The Vice for a championship, with the Vanity being the sixth stop on her campaign. So far the plan has succeeded, with the daughter of Vice Regent racking up four wins from five starts, including Grade I wins in the Mar. 10 Santa Maria, the Apr. 12 Apple Blossom and the June 23 Milady Handicap.

A victory over Serena's Song on Sunday would be key to her chances for the prestigious award.

"Serena's Song is the sentimental favorite for the Eclipse," Ellis said. "It's like in heavyweight boxing: when you're the challenger, you have to beat the champion, but you have to severely beat him, you can't just tie, otherwise the sentiment will be with the champ."

Twice The Vice has drawn post position six for the contest, with Serena's Song to break just outside of her in post seven.

"It would help us if there were more speed in the race," Ellis said. "Serena's Song will get the jump on us. Her natural ability allows her to do that. We just have to run our own race."

Wally Dollase's second hope on Super Sunday is Jewel Princess in the $250,000 Vanity. The Key To The Mint filly has been knocking heads with Serena's Song, Twice The Vice and Borodislew in her last three, and will line up against that trio Sunday.

"I think these are the top three fillies in the country," Dollase said. "Urbane was probably number four out here, and she just annihilated the field in the Delaware Handicap."

Jewel Princess lost close decisions to Borodislew and Twice The Vice in her last two, but defeated Sunday's favorite, Serena's Song, three starts ago.

"They've all been taking turns, but we've never beaten Twice The Vice," Dollase said. "She beat me by a head in the Del Mar Oaks two years ago with Malli Star. We just haven't been able to beat her."

Post positions from the rail out for the 55th running of the Vanity Handicap, to be run Sunday, July 21 at 1 1/8 miles: Airistar, Brice Blanc, 109, 30-1; Borodislew, Eddie Delahoussaye, 117, 10-1; Jewel Princess, Corey Nakatani, 120, 5-2; Top Rung, David Flores, 115, 10-1; Real Connection, Goncalino Almeida, 112, 30-1; Twice The Vice, Chris McCarron, 122, 9-5, and Serena's Song, Jerry Bailey, 125, 8-5.

Sunday's Grade II Swaps has $500,000 on the line, and trainer D. Wayne Lukas will be firing on all cylinders. Lukas will saddle Triple Crown veterans Victory Speech and Prince of Thieves in the 1 1/8 mile race.

"Victory Speech has been a little immature," Lukas said. "Of all the horses we had in the Triple Crown campaign, he was the least developed and had that immature look to him. He's just now starting to find himself."

Victory Speech ran evenly in the classics, finishing tenth in the Kentucky Derby and fifth in the Preakness. He followed those efforts with a second behind Skip Away in the Ohio Derby (Gr. II) and a 5 1/2-length score in the Dwyer (Gr. II) on July 6.

"I think he's coming into his own, and off of what we just saw, the purist handicappers will probably make him favorite," said Lukas, who was a supplemental entry to the Swaps at a cost of $20,000 to owner Michael Tabor. "They may still give an edge to Hesabull because he's had the recentcy there and an out over the track. But it would be no stretch of the imagination to make Victory Speech the favorite in the Swaps."

Prince of Thieves, a half-brother to 1995 Preakness winner Timber Country, is winless since a score in the Santa Catalina Stakes this February. The Hansel colt finished third in the Kentucky Derby (Gr. I), before running seventh in the Preakness (Gr. I) and fifth behind stablemate Editor's Note in the Belmont Stakes (Gr. I).

"I thought we had a legitimate chance to win in Baltimore in the Preakness," he said. "(Prince Of Thieves) is a horse who still has to step up in one of these Grade I's."

Prince of Thieves is the 2-1 second choice in the morning line behind Victory Speech.

"This is a very good spot for him," Lukas said. "He's training well and we're going to team him up with Alex Solis, who's riding as well as anybody right now."

In other developments:

Hesabull went three furlongs in :37 1/5 Friday morning.

Post positions from the rail out for the 23rd running of the Swaps (Gr. II), to be run Sunday, July 21 at 1 1/8 miles: Semoran, Chris McCarron, 120, 5-1; Slews Royal Son, Brice Blanc, 114, 10-1; Victory Speech, Jerry Bailey, 118, 8-5; Prince of Thieves, Alex Solis, 118, 2-1, and Hesabull, Eddie Delahoussaye, 118, 5-2.

Swiss Yodeler will try to join his filly counterpart Starry Ice by sweeping the 2-year-old stakes at the meeting. Perfect in three starts, including wins in The Westchester on May 27 and the June 26 Haggin Stakes, Swiss Yodeler will look to make it four straight in Sunday's Hollywood Juvenile Championship (Gr. II).

"I always thought he would turn out to be a runner," trainer Mike Harrington said. "When we got him from the farm they told us he could run, but I never expected him to win his first three."

The son of Eastern Echo has won all three races on the front end under leading jockey Alex Solis.

"He has a real efficient stride and rates very nicely," Harrington said. "If you look at his charts you might think he can only run on the lead. He's definitely not a horse that goes out and runs as fast as he can for as long as he can."

In other developments:

Red worked three furlongs in :35 4/5 Friday morning.

Post positions from the rail out for the 57th running of the Hollywood Juvenile Championship, to be run Sunday, July 21 at six furlongs: Vermilion, Laffit Pincay Jr., 115, 8-1; Smokin Mel, Omar Berrio, 117, 20-1; Swiss Yodeler, Alex Solis, 120, 1-1; Over Houston, David Flores, 117, 10-1; Red, Rene Douglas, 117, 10-1, and Prairie Junction, Jerry Bailey, 117, 7-5.

Fans attending Hollywood Park on Closing Day -- Monday, July 22 -- will receive free general admission and a chance to win a 1996 Ford Mustang GT.

Other prize giveaways on Fan Appreciation Day include Toshiba color TVs and VCRs, weekend getaways to Las Vegas, Dodger baseball tickets, a mountain bike, Hollywood clubhouse credentials for future meetings and much more.

The closing day feature is the $65,000-added Exbourne for older horses at a mile on turf. First post is 1 p.m.

Hollywood Park will feature two simulcasts on Saturday, the $150,000 River Downs Breeders' Cup set for 1:24 p.m. and the $300,000 DeFrancis Dash from Laurel at 2:36 p.m.

Local runner Score Quick, trained by Mel Stute and second in the June 30 Triple Bend Handicap (Gr. III), goes to post in the DeFrancis Dash. Rene Douglas is scheduled to ride.



Notable Distinctions



Bon Point

Bo Derek H, Grand Flotilla H at meeting 1st,

The Bien Bien

Polish Admiral

$66,500 Jim Murray H on June 22 1st,

The Bien Bien

Cat's Cradle

Acorn (Gr. I), Fantasy (Gr. II) in 1995; 8th,

Fran's Valentine S

Tabled With Saros

$100,000 Valkyr June 29 8th,

Fran's Valentine S



nine-time Grade I winner of $2,439,301 4th,

Caesars Palace Turf


San Luis Rey (Gr. I), San Luis Obispo (Gr. II), 4th,

Caesars Palace Turf 2nd in San Juan Capistrano (Gr. I) in last 3

Serena's Song

earned $2,758,348; 7th all-time distaffer

Vanity H (Gr. I)

Twice The Vice

winner of 3 straight Grade I races

Vanity H (Gr. I)

Prince Of Thieves

3rd in Kentucky Derby, won Santa Catalina S

Swaps Stakes (Gr. II)

Victory Speech

Dwyer (Gr. II) in last, 2nd Ohio Derby (Gr. II)

Swaps Stakes (Gr. II)


Affirmed H (Gr. III) in last, took 4 of last 5

Swaps Stakes (Gr. II)

Swiss Yodeler

undefeated winner of Haggin S, Westchester S

Holly Juv Champ (Gr. II)

FINISH LINES: Tinners Way drilled six furlongs in 1:13 1/5 in preparation for the Aug. 10 Pacific Classic (Gr. I) . . . Gamely Handicap (Gr. I) winner Auriette worked four furlongs in :47 2/5 for trainer Marty Jones . . . Savinio went four furlongs in :49 2/5 . . . Winter Quarters drilled five furlongs in :59 3/5 for trainer Bobby Frankel.

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