05/09/2013 12:52PM

Hollywood Park: Scarlet Strike seeks second straight stakes win in Senorita


INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Scarlet Strike ran in six stakes before she finally won one, the Grade 3 Providencia on turf at Santa Anita on April 6.

The Providencia Stakes was on the same program as the Santa Anita Derby and was overshadowed by that prestigious race. That may not have been fair to Scarlet Strike, a filly with a promising future in turf stakes in Southern California this spring and summer.

On Saturday at Betfair Hollywood Park, Scarlet Strike will be favored to win the $100,000 Senorita Stakes for 3-year-old fillies over a mile on turf. Trained and co-owned by Jerry Hollendorfer, Scarlet Strike will be ridden by leadaing jockey Rafael Bejarano.

In the Providencia, Bejarano had Scarlet Strike in seventh in a field of 10 for the first half-mile. He moved Scarlet Strike into contention with a four-wide rally on the turn, took the lead in the final furlong, and won by a half-length over Birdlover.

A similar trip is likely in the Grade 3 Senorita.

“She can move when you want,” said Dan Ward, Hollendorfer’s assistant. Bejarano “had to move a little early last time. He timed it right. Most of the time, he puts them in the right position and makes the right move.”

As a closer, Scarlet Strike is a cooperative filly, Ward said. She does not need to be at the back of the field or stalking the pace but is adaptable to the circumstances of a race.

“She can move when you ask her to,” he said. “You can do what you want.”

Scarlet Strike is the only 2013 stakes winner in the Senorita field. She drew the outside post in a field of eight and is expected to be toward the back of the field for the first half-mile, behind likely pacesetter Disko Dasko.

Trained by Jim Cassidy, Disko Dasko is one of two fillies in the Senorita owned by Deron Pearson. Lilbourne Eliza, second by a nose in an optional claimer at Santa Anita on April 18, makes her American stakes debut. Last fall, Lilbourne Eliza was third in the minor Radley Stakes at Newbury Racecourse in England, finishing behind the victorious Need You Now, who is part of the Senorita field.

Need You Now, trained by Mike Mitchell, finished fifth in the Runway Stakes on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita on April 13 in her American debut.

The Senorita field also includes Sweet Red Cat and Kyriaki, who were third and sixth in the Providencia.

Cassidy expects Lilbourne Eliza to improve from her recent start but is concerned about how she will handle being loaded into the starting gate. She was reluctant to load April 18.

“She needed it,” Cassidy said of the April 18 race. “That race will help her a lot. She hates the gate.”

The best chance for Disko Dasko is to try to steal the race, Cassidy said. She was fourth in the Runway Stakes while racing from off the pace.

“I thought she might have been too far back,” Cassidy said. “She had too much to do late.”