07/18/2013 2:38PM

Del Mar: Unusual Hottie looks for fourth straight win in Osunitas

Benoit & Associates
Unusual Hottie is 3 for 3 this year, all at Betfair Hollywood Park, heading into Saturday’s $90,000 Osunitas Stakes at Del Mar.

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DEL MAR, Calif. – Unusual Hottie was in the midst of a six-furlong turf workout at Betfair Hollywood Park on July 12 when trainer Jeff Mullins let out an audible gasp.

The 4-year-old filly was cruising easily under jockey Joe Talamo, on her way to a quick time of 1:14.60. What Mullins saw left him impressed.

“She’s never taken a step backwards,” Mullins said that morning.

Unbeaten in three starts this year. all at Hollywood Park, Unusual Hottie can extend her winning streak in Saturday’s $90,000 Osunitas Stakes at Del Mar. Run over 1 1/16 miles on turf for fillies and mares, the Osunitas drew 13 but only 10 can start.

The race is restricted to horses who have not won a stakes worth $50,000 or more to the winner at a mile or longer this year, other than statebred races.

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Unusual Hottie’s winning streak began with a half-length score in an optional claimer over six furlongs April 25, her first start for Mullins. Owned by Seyyed Nilforushan, Unusual Hottie followed with two stakes wins over a mile on turf – the $100,500 Fran’s Valentine for California-breds on May 18 and the $90,370 Redondo Beach, a restricted race, on June 9.

In all three wins, with Talamo riding, Unusual Hottie stalked the pace and took the lead in the final furlong.

“She’s steady all the time,” Mullins said Wednesday. “She’s tactical. She’s been strong all season. You wonder if they’ll tail off. Hopefully, she won’t.”

Unusual Hottie has won 7 of 14 starts and $346,348. In 2012, she was second in the Solana Beach Handicap here when trained by John Sadler.

In the Osunitas, Unusual Hottie is part of a strong field that includes two stakes winners from the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting – A Jealous Woman (the Megahertz Stakes in January) and I Dazzle (the American Beauty Stakes in April). The other prominent runners include Top Kisser, who was third in the Fran’s Valentine, and Long Face, who was second in the Grade 3 Wilshire Handicap at Hollywood Park in April but finished a troubled eighth in the Redondo Beach.

I Dazzle was a troubled fourth of five in the Grade 2 Royal Heroine Mile at Hollywood Park on July 6 while racing in traffic in the stretch.

“She could have been third, but you can’t tell,” Sadler said. “She’s better on this course.”

I Dazzle is not a sure bet to start Saturday. “She fits the conditions,” Sadler said. “I’ll study the race and decide what I want to do.”