01/08/2011 1:50PM

Intriguing pair try to regain old form in allowance feature


In the spring of her 3-year-old season two years ago, Holdontoyourdream was good enough to finish third in the Grade 2 Comely in New York. As a lightly raced 3-year-old last year in Italy, where she won her first two career starts by a combined nine lengths, Marseria was regarded highly enough that Team Valor International purchased her and brought her to Saratoga for a minor turf stakes.

Neither horse has come close to fulfilling once high expectations, but both look intriguing while trying something different in Monday’s featured ninth race at Parx Racing.

Holdontoyourdream, coupled with Indian Legend, and Marseria, making her second start in the United States and first since being transferred to trainer Graham Motion, are among seven older fillies and mares attempting to clear their second allowance condition while racing a mile and 70 yards.

During the early portion of her career, Holdontoyourdream was trained by Tony Dutrow and ran well in three straight starts sprinting at Parx to earn a shot at the Comely, a one-turn mile race at Aqueduct, in April 2009. Third in a field of five in the Comely, Holdontoyourdream ran again a month later in the one-mile Deceit at Belmont Park, then went to the sidelines and didn’t resurface until this past September, when she stopped badly and finished last in the PHBA Distaff, a 1 1/16-mile stakes restricted to Pennsylvania-breds.

Her new trainer, Cynthia Reese, then switched Holdontoyourdream back to sprints for her next three races. After her best effort, a rallying fourth going six furlongs in the slop on Dec. 12, Holdontoyourdream will stretch back out around two turns for Monday’s race in quest of her first win since March 2009.

Marseria went 2 for 2 in Italy, winning once on dirt and once going long on turf, before she was bought by Team Valor and turned over to Jim Toner. She was rank while finishing ahead of just one horse in her North American debut on Sept.  2. She has been training for the past month at Motion’s base, the Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland. She returns to dirt Monday for the first time since November 2009.

Among their rivals, Indian Legend, Power Bid, and L.A. Girl all come off wins in entry-level allowance races. All would have to run considerably faster than they did last time to get close to the Beyer par of 82 for a second-level allowance at Parx.