05/08/2009 11:00PM

La Chica Rica seeks Hancock County repeat


La Chica Rica is back to defend her title Tuesday in the $75,000 Hancock County Handicap for fillies and mares at Mountaineer Casino Racetrack and Resort.

"I'm looking forward to running her," said trainer Crystal Pickett. "She looks good. She's training super."

The win last year was the middle victory in a five-race winning streak, a run that propelled the mare to an excellent season with earnings of $233,526.

La Chica Rica, now 6, took a well-deserved vacation following the Maryland Millions Distaff in October. She is winless in two races this season with a pair of seconds: one at Mountaineer, the other at Charles Town. Pickett blames both loses on the layoff, and a pair of inside posts.

"Unfortunately, in her first race back, she drew the one hole at Mountaineer and never got a break," Pickett said. "She was pressured the entire way. At Charles Town, the inside was not a good place to be that night."

The post shouldn't be a problem in the five-furlong Hancock County, where La Chica Rica has the outside slot in the eight-horse field. Deshawn Parker, Mountaineer's leading rider, will be aboard once again.

"Oh that's wonderful," Pickett said when told where her mare drew. "She's such a nice filly and she breaks so well. If anybody else wants to go, she'll go. If not, she can kind of dominate from the outside. She and Deshawn know each other great."

La Chica Rica also knows Mountaineer well, with a career record there of 4-2-0 in six starts.

La Chica Rica carries top weight of 122 pounds, two more than she carried to victory in this race last year.

What Time It Is comes next on the scale at 120. The 5-year-old trained by Michael Trombetta has two wins and a third in her last three races. This will be her Mountaineer debut.

Hadavision, claimed for $40,000 last time out at Keeneland by trainer Daniel Smithwick Jr., ran her last four races on synthetic tracks in Kentucky. She does love this distance, with a record of 3-2-0 in six tries at five furlongs, including a win in the off-the-turf Trenton Stakes at Monmouth Park last September.

Completing the field are Ruffaroundtheedges, Mymymyboogieshoes, Phoebe's Song, Big Lou, and Touch of Class.