08/17/2012 2:59PM

Del Mar: Halo Dolly’s versatility gives her good shot to repeat in Solana Beach

Shigeki Kikkawa
Regardless of how Sunday’s Solana Beach unfolds, Halo Dolly should be able to adapt.

DEL MAR, Calif. – The ability to race as a pacesetter, stalker, or closer is a big reason why Halo Dolly has won 11 of 20 career starts, and why she will be favored to defend her title in Sunday’s $100,000 Solana Beach Handicap at Del Mar.

In 2011, Halo Dolly won the Solana Beach from off the pace. She won two stakes earlier this year from the front. Regardless of how Sunday’s race unfolds, Halo Dolly can adapt, according to Dan Ward, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer’s assistant.

“You used to have to cover her up and get behind horses,” Ward said.

“Now, she’s relaxing.”

The presence of a confirmed front-runner in A Jealous Woman in the Solana Beach enhances Halo Dolly’s chances. “It helps,” Ward said.

Owned by a partnership, Halo Dolly, 4, has won 4 of 7 starts this year.

She was third, beaten a half-length in the restricted Osunitas Handicap here on July 21, racing near the front throughout and finishing just behind Broken Dreams.

In the Solana Beach, run over a mile on turf for California-bred fillies and mares, Halo Dolly has drawn the outside post in a field of nine. Joe Talamo rides Halo Dolly. He was aboard for her win in the Fran’s Valentine Stakes on turf at Betfair Hollywood Park in May and her loss in the Osunitas.

Halo Dolly is not the only multiple stakes winner in the field. Antares World, a 5-year-old mare who has won eight races and $434,328, makes her first start for trainer Jeff Mullins. Antares World joined Mullins’s stable in the spring.

She was pointed for an additional race at Hollywood Park earlier this summer, but did not start when Mullins said he was not pleased with her condition. In recent weeks, Antares World has worked steadily on Del Mar’s turf course. She was third in the Grade 3 Wilshire Handicap at Hollywood Park in late April in her last start.

Two entrants in the Solana Beach have won at this meeting. Unusual Hottie won an allowance race against open company on Aug. 5 and makes her stakes debut. A Jealous Woman won an optional claimer over 1 1/16 miles on turf against open company on July 29.