12/06/2011 4:26PM

Hollywood: Self Preservation taking on rival again

Shigeki Kikkawa
Self Preservation is slated to have Joel Rosario riding in the Hollywood Starlet.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Three times this year, Self Preservation has finished behind Weemissfrankie in Grade 1 races in Southern California and Kentucky.

Along the way, there have been two close finishers – a one-two in the Del Mar Debutante in September and a three-four in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs last month. That was not the case in the Oak Leaf Stakes at Santa Anita in October when Weemissfrankie won and Self Preservation was a disappointing fifth.

They are scheduled to meet again in Saturday’s $250,000 Hollywood Starlet Stakes at Hollywood Park. Trainer Ben Cecil is not deterred by those losses, hoping that Self Preservation can pull an upset.

“If she relaxes more, she has a shot of hopefully turning the table,” he said on Tuesday.

That responsibility will rest in the hands of jockey Joel Rosario, who rode Self Preservation for the first time in the BC Juvenile Fillies. She finished 10 1/4 lengths behind race winner My Miss Aurelia, but only 1 1/4 lengths behind Weemissfrankie. In the BC Juvenile Fillies, Self Preservation was as far back as 10th, a change from the Oak Leaf when she led for the first six furlongs and faded.

Self Preservation must be patient in the first half of the Starlet to have any chance of a win, Cecil said.

“The problem we had in the Oak Leaf was putting her on the lead,” he said. “It made her keen. It’s taken a while to get her to relax. Even in the Breeders’ Cup, Joel had trouble getting her to relax. It took a good half-mile. Hopefully, we’re making progress.

“Joel has gotten to know her pretty well. Before the Breeders’ Cup, I think he’d sat on her one time.”

Self Preservation is part of a likely field of seven in the Starlet. Aside from Weemissfrankie, the expected field has three other stakes winners – Charm the Maker (Sharp Cat Stakes), Killer Graces (Landaluce Stakes) and Made to Love Her (Moccasin Stakes).

Self Preservation is owned by Paul Reddam, and must be supplemented for $10,000. It is a financial risk worth taking, Cecil said.

“We didn’t see any reason, if she came back well from the Breeders’ Cup, not to do it,” he said. “We’ll give it a go.”