04/28/2011 3:37PM

Hollywood Park: Dubawi Heights being aimed high


INGLEWOOD, Calif. – The promise that Dubawi Heights showed in England as a 2-year-old in 2009, when she placed in two lucrative sales progeny races, finally surfaced in this country in the last six months.

Wins in a maiden race at Hollywood Park last November and an allowance race at Santa Anita in April gave trainer Simon Callaghan and the partnership that owns the 4-year-old filly the confidence to point for Saturday’s $100,000 Wilshire Handicap over a mile on turf at Hollywood Park.

“We feel we have a really good shot in what should be a highly competitive field,” Callaghan said on Thursday morning. “She was always a decent filly and was a stakes horse in England.

“She’s done little wrong in America. We’ve always thought she was a good filly, and our opinion hasn’t changed.”

What Callaghan and his clients did not expect was that the Wilshire would be made easier by the defection on Wednesday of Evening Jewel, the 123-pound topweight in the Grade 3 for fillies and mares. Trainer Jim Cassidy opted to skip the Wilshire with Evening Jewel and point for a race in May to give her more time between starts.

The absence of a two-time Grade 1 stakes winner such as Evening Jewel has left the Wilshire without a standout in a field of 11. There are no 2011 stakes winners in the field, but Burg Berg, expected to set the pace, did win the minor Swingtime Stakes on this turf course last October.

Well Monied is the 119-pound starting highweight, but has not raced since a fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Gamely Stakes at Hollywood Park last May. She won the Grade 2 Honeymoon Handicap here in 2009.

In April 2010, Well Monied returned from a layoff of more than seven months to win an allowance race at Santa Anita. Trainer Howard Zucker is hoping she can duplicate that success on Saturday.

“She didn’t need a race last time coming back,” he said. “I expect her to run well fresh. We’re cautiously optimistic.”

Vamo a Gulupiar, a 4-year-old Chilean-bred filly, makes her American debut. Now trained by Neil Drysdale, Vamo a Gulupiar was a Group 1 winner in Chile last June.

Callaghan also starts Smart Striking, who was third in an allowance race at Santa Anita on April 8. Blue Maiden, the runner-up in that race, is part of the Wilshire field.

“She seems to be in fantastic form,” Callaghan said of Smart Striking. “I think she could be the surprise package.”