Race of the Week 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Toasting with Andrew Champagne

Hollywood Starlet Pros and Cons

Untapable wins 2013 Pocahontas
Photo: Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography


The facts are that our memories of the highest-profile route races for 2-year-old fillies this year haven't been the best. Most recently, She's A Tiger was DQ'd in the Juvenile Fillies (the same race marred by the breakdown of Secret Compass) and Stopchargingmaria prevailed in an unremarkable renewal of the Demoiselle at Aqueduct.

This Saturday's Grade I Hollywood Starlet, though, looks like one of the most interesting races of the year in that division. From a betting standpoint, it's pretty wide-open, with Rosalind the lukewarm 3-1 choice on the morning line in the field of eight.

There are plenty of different ways you can go from a handicapping standpoint, and in this post, I'll try and go down as many avenues as possible. Here now are the pros and cons of each horse in the field, beginning with...

1) Concave (15-1)

Pros: The Doug O'Neill trainee returns to a synthetic surface after two tries on dirt. She broke her maiden at first asking over the cushion track at Betfair Hollywood Park, and her third-place finish in the Grade III Delta Princess last month showed her dud in the Juvenile Fillies was the exception rather than the rule.

Cons: It's not like the Delta Princess featured a cast of world-beaters, and the field she faces today includes several sharp fillies. Additionally, this will be Concave's third race in five weeks.

2) Taste Like Candy (7-2)

Pros: Jerry Hollendorfer's entrant couldn't have been much more impressive in her October debut at Santa Anita. She drew off to win by more than six lengths in 1:03 and change for the 5 1/2-furlong distance, and her pedigree (by Candy Ride, out of an A.P. Indy mare) indicates that two turns shouldn't be a problem.

Cons: She isn't tested over the Hollywood Park surface, nor has she ever gone two turns. At second asking, there's also the risk of a bounce, especially against company much better than what she beat at first asking.

3) Be Proud (12-1)

Pros: The longer-priced of two Bob Baffert trainees in this field, Be Proud ran second over this surface in the Sharp Cat last month. A hard-knocker by Proud Citizen, she's finished first or second in five of her six career starts to this point.

Cons: Martin Garcia gets off to ride Streaming (the other Baffert entrant), and in the Sharp Cat, she was beaten soundly by Arethusa, who also shows up in this spot.

4) Bajan (5-1)

Pros: You can make the argument that she seems to be getting better with every start. She's won two stakes races in a row, including the Moccasin earlier in the Hollywood Park meeting, and while her lone off-the-board finish came in the Del Mar Debutante at this level, she may not have had the best of trips that day.

Cons: While she went from last to first in the Moccasin, the final time (1:24.26 for the seven-furlong distance) wasn't anything special, and she bested just four others that day, none of whom show up in the Starlet.

5) Untapable (4-1)

Pros: You can forget about the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, as she was one of the horses who checked hard behind the fallen Secret Compass. Draw a line through that race, and you're left with a 2-for-2 graded stakes-winner from the Steven Asmussen barn, one that's attracted the services of Joe Talamo Saturday afternoon.

Cons: Both of those victories came at Churchill Downs, and she is untested over the Hollywood Park cushion track. Her works, while solid, have come over the dirt track at Santa Anita, and 4-1 isn't a great price on a horse trying a synthetic surface for the first time.

6) Arethusa (4-1)

Pros: The regally-bred daughter of A.P. Indy came to life on the cushion track last out with a smashing win in the Sharp Cat. She rallied from last to first and hit the wire clear by more than eight lengths at this route, and as a result, you know she can handle the distance and surface.

Cons: That was her first-ever victory, and much like with Taste Like Candy, the risk of a bounce is there. That day, even-money favorite Georgia didn't run a step, checking out early to be fifth, and this is a pretty significant jump in class.

7) Streaming (8-1)

Pros: The second Bob Baffert trainee looked solid in winning at first asking over the cushion track. She moved four-wide that day while stalking fast fractions, and while she needed to work harder than most odds-on favorites to win, she showed she could handle some adversity. She has every reason to improve at second asking, and Garcia picked her over the stakes-placed Be Proud.

Cons: Despite strong two-turn breeding, the stretch-out from six furlongs to a mile and one sixteenth is significant. There doesn't seem to be much early speed in this race, and she may very well be the early pace-setter from her outside post. Can she handle the extra five-sixteenths of a mile against some pretty talented closers?

8) Rosalind (3-1)

Pros: For my money, Rosalind had one of the more underrated runs on Breeders' Cup weekend in the Juvenile Fillies. She was one of the few horses to make up significant ground on the main track before the speed bias lessened, and with a few more strides, she may very well have found herself in the winner's circle. Ken McPeek won this race last year with Pure Fun, and top rider Joel Rosario stays on.

Cons: Will there be enough early pace here to set up her customary late run? Additionally, the post isn't great, and she still hasn't beaten winners.


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Older Comments about Hollywood Starlet Pros and Cons...

Arethusa and Streaming
Taste Like Candy looks toast-worthy.
I am very curious,why would you say that Stopchargingmarias Demoiselle victory was ,as you say Unremarkable.In Got Lucky and Penwith,she defeated 2 fillies that at the longer distances will prove much better than the group running in this race.Maria also on that day ,at the same distance.She ran faster than Derby favorite Honor Code.I thought the Demoiselle was the 2yr old race of the year for fillies.There were 3 noses at the wire. But i guess it is just an opinion.
  • Toasting · Happy to answer that. I didn't say the Demoiselle was bad, just unremarkable. I don't think Stopchargingmaria is a two-turn horse (though she could be a heck of a 7f-mile horse; hello, 2014 Test!). Also, and I'm as big a raw-times guy as any you'll find, comparing ANY race to the Remsen, one of the weirdest-run graded races this year, is not wise. Yes, the Demoiselle field ran faster, but they also weren't getting wrangled for the first six furlongs. · 1448 days ago
I, too, really liked the PROS and CONS!
The outside horses are at an extreme disadvantage due to the placement of the starting gate.
one never knows if ANY of these babies will continue to matuire and improve
Very good list, Thank you for posting !
I enjoyed this pro & con approach, Andrew ... excellent info!

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Meet Andrew Champagne


A native of upstate New York and a graduate of Ithaca College, Andrew Champagne fell in love with horse racing at a very early age on summer trips to Saratoga. His turf writing credits include time spent as a sportswriter, weekly columnist, and handicapper at The Saratogian, a summer working for The Saratoga Special, and "field research" at OTB facilities in Saratoga Springs and his hometown of Kingston. He also spent two years in the athletic communications office at Siena College, and interned with NBC Olympics at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.

Andrew moved to Pasadena, Calif., in October of 2013, and now serves as an Associate Producer in HRTV's Digital Media department and Horse Racing Nation's Southern California writer. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewChampagne, and email him at andrewdchampagne@gmail.com.

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