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Strawberry Tart Tops Friday Night Feature

Hollywood Park logo.
Photo: Hollywood Park

Strawberry Tart, who went 2-for-2 on the Hollywood Park turf course as a 3-year-old, will make her first appearance of 2010 in the $60,000 Great Lady M. on Friday night at Hollywood Park. The race is the fifth of eight.  Post time is 7:05 p.m.


Owned by George and Mary Clare Schmitt and trained by Jeff Bonde, Strawberry Tart, a daughter of Atticus out of the Strawberry Road mare Mylittletart, has been idle since a last place finish in the Harold C. Ramser Sr. Handicap, a Grade III, last Oct. 24 at Santa Anita.


This was her fourth consecutive loss on grass, so maybe a return to Hollywood Park will help reverse her fortunes.  In her first two races on turf, Strawberry Tart won the Manhattan Beach Handicap at six furlongs, which is the distance of the Great Lady M., then returned less than one month later to win the Flawlessly at one mile.


With a recent best of the morning six furlong drill in 1:13 over the Cushion Track, Strawberry Tart will break from the rail in the field of seven and will carry 122 pounds. Martin Garcia, who rode her to both of her turf victories in 2009, has the call. She has four wins in 10 lifetime starts with earnings of $182,625.


The 124-pound highweight in the Great Lady M. is Unzip Me. A California bred daughter of City Zip and the Arazi mare Escape With Me, she has won four in a row dating to Dec. 20. Her most recent success for breeders John Harris and Don Valpredo and partners was a wire-to-wire victory in the Las Cienegas, a Grade III, on April 11 at Santa Anita.


Trained by Marty Jones, Unzip Me will be ridden by Joe Talamo. She has a win and a second in two races on the turf at Hollywood Park. Overall, she has six wins in 11 attempts while earning $279.700.


Jones will also send out local specialist Dotsy Jean. Owned by AJM Racing LLC and J B K Stable, the 5-year-old gray daughter of Lit De Justice and the Pentelicus mare Grandjean is 4-for-5 sprinting on the Hollywood Park grass. She will break directly outside of Strawberry Tart and be ridden by Joel Rosario. She has won nine of 29 in her career while banking $265,690.


The field also includes Minute Limit, who has won two of eight in the United States for trainer John Sadler and owners Team Valor International and Gary Barber, defending champion Porto Marmay, Bella Roja, a recent $62,500 claim by trainer Doug O’Neill, and Annihilation, a winner of five of nine on turf for trainer Dan Hendricks and owners Jeff Davenport, Tom Lenner and William Strauss.


Porto Marmay, a 5-year-old Irish bred owned by Marsha Naify and trained by Julio Canani, was 11-1 when she defeated Reba Is Tops and Royal Taat, who finished in a dead heat for second, by a nose in the Great Lady M. last June 19.

From the inside out, here is the complete field for the Great Lady M: Strawberry Tart, Martin Garcia rides, 122 pounds; Dotsy Jean, Joel Rosario, 120; Minute Limit, Victor Espinoza, 118; Porto Marmay, David Flores, 118; Bella Roja, Tyler Baze, 120; Unzip Me, Joe Talamo, 124 and Annihilation, Rafael Bejarano, 120.


Two races later, Kelly Leak returns to Hollywood Park for the first time since his maiden victory as a 2-year-old in the summer of 2008.


The Runaway Groom colt and the World Appeal mare Hasty Appeal owned by Blahut Racing, Dennis Avila and Dave Johnson and trained by Mike Machowsky, Kelly Leak is one of five scheduled to go 1 1/16 miles in the $53,000 optional claimer.


In his first race with blinkers, Kelly Leak, who has won three of 13 and earned $738,250, mostly  due to his victory in the $900,000 Sunland Derby on March 29, 2009 at Sunland Park, will be ridden by Rosario. His opponents include Aggie Engineer, Chocolate Candy, One Track Mind and Aitcho.


At the conclusion of the races – approximately  10:30 p.m. - a concert starring The Motels and Dramarama will commence at the North Park Lawn.

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