INGLEWOOD, Calif. (June 23, 2010)-Turning Top, who has won three in a row at shorter distances, will try more ground and step into graded company for the first time in the $100,000 Beverly Hills Handicap on Saturday at Hollywood Park.
Seven other older fillies and mares were entered in the Grade III at 1 ¼ miles on turf. It is the eighth of nine races.
Owned by Michael Tabor and trained by Simon Callaghan, Turning Top, a 4-year-old daughter of Pivotal and the Cadeaux Genereux mare Pietra Dura, was defeated in her first two starts in the United States.
The Irish bred was sixth in a first level allowance on the Pro Ride at Santa Anita on Feb. 5, then improved when switched to grass, finishing third behind Medaglia d’Amour, who has since won the Wilshire Handicap, on March 14.
Turning Top is since perfect, winning three consecutive races in photo finishes. She won by a nose going a mile in an optional claimer on April 10 at Santa Anita, then added two more victories at Hollywood Park.
In her initial local appearance, Turning Top won by a neck going 1 1/16 miles on May 13, then won the restricted Redondo Beach Stakes by a head – at one mile – on June 5.
A winner of five of 14 overall with earnings of $111,943, Turning Top will be racing beyond 8 ½ furlongs for the first time in the Beverly Hills. Brice Blanc, who won the race in 2000 aboard Happyanunoit, will ride.
Trainers Ben Cecil and Paddy Gallagher will both have two starters.
Cecil, who captured the Beverly Hills with Squeak in 1998, will send out Lady Francesca and Restless Soul. The representatives for the Gallagher barn are General Consensus and Princess Taylor.
Owned by Triple B Farms, Lady Francesca, a 4-year-old Montjeu filly out of the Mountain Cat mare Purring, has won once in 13 starts, earning $57,330. She has been third and fourth in her first two races in the U.S. She finished 1 ¼ lengths behind Turning Top on April 10.
The English bred will be looking for her first win on turf. She is 0-for-12 on the surface. Her lone victory in England came on the Polytrack at Wolverhampton last Sept. 17.
Owned in partnership that includes Cecil and James McCalmont, Restless Soul has three wins in 25 tries. She has earned $182,488.
She has started twice in 2010. After finishing seventh of 10 in an allowance race on March 3 at Santa Anita, the 6-year-old daughter of Singspiel and the Prince Rupert mare Seasonal Splendor finished third in the Santa Barbara Handicap, a Grade II, on April 17.
The English bred mare has succeeded at the Santa Barbara distance. She won a first level allowance at 10 furlongs on Jan. 28, 2009 at Santa Anita.
A 5-year-old Giant’s Causeway mare out of the Seattle Slew mare Shootforthestars, General Consensus will be making her second start of the meet for owner Sierra Farm. She was fifth of seven behind Tuscan Evening in the Gamely, a Grade 1, on May 29.
Prior to that, she was runner-up to Tuscan Evening in the Santa Barbara, her lone try at 1 ¼ miles. She has won four of 17 while banking $248,494.
Princess Taylor, a 6-year-old daughter of Singspiel and the Mille Balles mare Tapas En Bal, will be making her first start for Gallagher. She finished ninth of 10 against males in the San Juan Capistrano Handicap on April 18 at Santa Anita. She was still trained by Dermot Weld in what was her U.S. debut.
She is hoping to end a lengthy losing streak. The English bred’s last victory came at Haydock in her homeland in a $33,200 handicap on Sept. 27, 2008. Princess Taylor has lost 16 subsequent starts.
Although Tuscan Evening is bypassing the Beverly Hills, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer will still have a starter in Pretty Katherine.
Owned by William De Burgh, John Sikura and George Todaro, the 4-year-old Vindication filly and the Deputy Minister mare Indigene is fresh off her first turf victory. She won a $53,400 allowance at nearly 17-1 on May 19. Overall, Pretty Katherine has four wins in 18 attempts and has earned $160,401.
Completing the field are Catsalot and Princess Haya.
Trained by Leonard Powell and owned by Magdalen O. Bryant, Catsalot has won four of 19 while earning $170,260. A 4-year-old Momentum filly out of the Kendor mare Clerical Error, Catsalot is trying to become only the third California bred to win the Beverly Hills. She would join Hill Circus (1972) and Memorette (2006).
Owned by breeder Eileen Hartis and trained by Carl O’Callaghan, Princess Haya has yet to threaten in a pair of starts in California.
She was fifth in the Wilshire and last of seven in the Gamely. The 5-year-old daughter of Street Cry and the Slew City Slew mare Sally Slew has won four of 16 and earned $414,901.
Her biggest score came as a 15-1 outsider when she defeated Forever Together by a nose in the E.P. Taylor last Oct. 17 at Woodbine.
From the inside out, the field for the 45th Beverly Hills Handicap: Princess Taylor, Joe Talamo rides, 113 pounds; Turning Top, Brice Blanc, 116; Princess Haya, Christian Santiago Reyes, 117; Pretty Katherine, Tyler Baze, 116; General Consensus, Rafael Bejarano, 116; Restless Soul, Victor Espinoza, 115; Lady Francesca, Alonso Quinonez, 112 and Catsalot, Julio Garcia, 113.
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