11/09/2012 5:31PM

Hollywood Park: Scarlet Strike gets test in Sharp Cat Stakes


INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Scarlet Strike would have been up against in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies – racing without Lasix on a speed-favoring track at Santa Anita.

Rather than subject the stretch-running filly to compromising conditions, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer postponed resumption of her fall campaign until Sunday, when Scarlet Strike returns as the favorite in the $100,000 Sharp Cat Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park.

“We think she’s an improving horse that is going to do better as the distances get longer,” Hollendorfer said.

He reiterated the reason Scarlet Strike skipped the Breeders’ Cup was because of the Lasix ban for 2-year-olds in Breeders’ Cup races.

It has been five weeks since Scarlet Strike finished second in a Grade 1 at Santa Anita, and she has trained strongly at Hollywood in the interim. Joe Talamo rides the filly, whose rivals in the 1 1/16-mile race are not pushovers.

Tilde’s 4-for-5 record includes three stakes wins versus California-breds; improving Wittgenstein won a maiden turf route and can finish; Rhodium will keep the pace honest after wiring maidens with a 78 Beyer, highest in the field. Majestic Stinger, Midnight Ballet, and Renee’s Titan also entered.

The ungraded Sharp Cat leads to the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet on Dec. 8, a race Hollendorfer won in 2009 with Blind Luck and 2011 with Killer Graces. He hopes Scarlet Strike follows suit.

“We made an early-bird nomination to [the Starlet], hoping she would be able to run in that race,” Hollendorfer said, and so far, so good.

Each start has been better than the one before, and Scarlet Strike’s closing style is not an issue over a synthetic surface that historically plays fair. All seven Sharp Cat entrants are scheduled to race with Lasix.

Meanwhile, surface could be a challenge for the most accomplished filly in the field. Tilde has won three straight stakes versus statebred fillies, including a pace-pressing win in the 1 1/16-mile California Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita.

Owner-trainer Mike Harrington recognizes that winning a route at Santa Anita is different from winning a route at Hollywood.

“Going long on dirt, or sand, may not be the same as going long here” at Hollywood, he said.

Harrington is using the Sunday stakes to prepare Tilde for the $200,000 Soviet Problem, a seven-furlong sprint for California-bred fillies on Dec. 9.

“My goal all along has been the Soviet Problem,” Harrington said. “I intended to skip this race, but she is doing well and there really was no reason not to run her.”

Asked if there was any chance Tilde could be redirected to the $500,000 Starlet one day earlier than the Soviet Problem, Harrington was realistic. “She would have to win the [Sharp Cat] by many for that to happen.”