12/08/2011 2:46PM

Hollywood: Weemissfrankie out for tough triple

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Benoit & Associates
Weemissfrankie, with Rafael Bejarano riding, wins the Oak Leaf.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – It has proven nearly impossible to sweep California’s three Grade 1 stakes for 2-year-old fillies. Only Excellent Meeting in 1998 has won the Del Mar Debutante, Oak Leaf Stakes at Santa Anita, and Hollywood Starlet Stakes at Hollywood Park.

Some fillies are brilliant at the end of Del Mar in sprints, but unable to finish the season in the winner’s circle of a route at Hollywood Park in December. Some develop too late to be effective in sprints.

Weemissfrankie can become the second filly to sweep the three stakes when she starts in Saturday’s $402,000 Hollywood Starlet Stakes, the final Grade 1 race of the division for 2-year-olds in the nation.

There is little else at stake for Weemissfrankie in the Starlet. Her two Grade 1 wins have left her with a secure status one of the nation’s leading 2-year-old fillies. She won’t be champion; the opportunity was lost with a third-place finish to My Miss Aurelia in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4.

Still, trainer Peter Eurton wants a win on Sunday, to end the 2011 season with an important victory.

“There is not much we can accomplish, other than win all three Grade 1’s in California,” trainer Peter Eurton said. “It’s not like we’re running for ribbons.

“I don’t want to just assume she’ll be a better 3-year-old. I think she will be. If you sit on them and give them a break, all of a sudden there are six or seven that are better than you.”

Owned by a partnership, Weemissfrankie will start as a strong favorite in the Starlet, which is run over 1 1.16 miles. The race drew a field of six and is the ninth race on a 10-race program that begins at 12:30 p.m.

The Starlet will be Weemissfrankie’s first start since the BC Juvenile Fillies on Nov. 4. The trip to Kentucky did not take a severe toll, Eurton said.

“The last few days her energy has been unbelievable,” Eurton said. “I’m happy with her fitness. I don’t think she’s tired. Her weight is good. Her soundness is good. I look for a good trip.”

Weemissfrankie will start from the rail in the Starlet, the first time she has drawn the inside in her career. Jockey Rafael Bejarano is likely to have Weemissfrankie off the pace. In the Oak Leaf Stakes, her only other win at 1 1/16 miles, Weemissfrankie was fifth for the first six furlongs, and closed steadily through the stretch to win by a half-length.

After the Starlet, Weemissfrankie will have a rest, but will not leave the stable, Eurton said. “The long-term goal is the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on May 4, with a race or two in the spring.

“The question is, do I want to run her once or twice before the Kentucky Oaks?” Eurton said. “Everyone had so much fun going to Churchill Downs they would dig doing it again.”

“I think the break will do her good. We’ll have around the barn for the winter, jogging and light galloping.”

To win the Starlet, Weemissfrankie must beat Self Preservation, who was second in the Del Mar Debutante, fifth in the Oak Leaf and fourth in the BC Juvenile Fillies. Another major threat is Charm the Maker, who was third in the Oak Leaf in her first start at 1 1/16 miles, and then won the Sharp Cat Stakes at that distance here on Nov. 13.

The other starters are Killer Graces, second in the Sharp Cat; Lady Pecan, winless in three stakes; and the maiden Mi Vida.

Charm the Maker worked five furlongs in 59.20 seconds at Santa Anita on Wednesday, leaving trainer Ron McAnally anxious for Saturday’s race.

“We’re ready,” McAnally said. “The main thing is she’s doing well. I couldn’t believe how well she did it, and I don’t like to work horses fast.”

McAnally has a positive reflection on Charm the Maker’s loss in the Oak Leaf when she finished a length behind Weemissfrankie.

“That was only our filly’s second race, and we’d never been a distance,” McAnally said. “Off of that race, I feel she has a chance. She looks good and is eating good. It’s amazing how easy she does it.”