Updated on 09/16/2011 8:42AM

Rolly Polly overshadows foes


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Rolly Polly cuts it awfully close. Unbeaten in four turf sprints in the United States, Rolly Polly's average margin of victory is about a half-length, including two wins by a nose. Is she lucky, talented, or both?

"She's been lucky, she gets up at the right time. A lot of those, they get beat," trainer Bobby Frankel said.

Not this one. Rolly Polly has won nine races, including graded stakes in the U.S. and group stakes in Europe, and has earned $403,764 from 16 starts. She will be heavily favored in the $70,000 Safely Kept Handicap on Sunday at Hollywood Park.

Five fillies and mares were entered for the 5 1/2-furlong turf race, which Rolly Polly won last year. Since then, little has changed. Rolly Polly struggled on dirt, and around two turns, but is 4 for 4 in U.S. turf sprints. She enters off a Grade 3 win, and is the logical choice to win Sunday over Gabriellina Giof, Harvest Girl, Party Pirate, and Wild Tickle.

Bettors willing to accept a short price must overlook Rolly Polly's six-pound weight concession

(121 to 115) to both Gabriellina Giof and Harvest Girl. It is not difficult, given Gabriellina Giof's questionable recent form. She has lost 12 straight, and finished 10th in her most recent start. Harvest Girl is 6 for 21 on dirt but less effective on grass, where she has failed to win in five attempts.

Flaws in Gabriellina Giof and Harvest Girl furnish hope for Party Pirate (114). Although she doesn't win often, she does win money. Claimed one year ago for $32,000 by trainer Peter Levine, Party Pirate has earned more than $90,000 since, and without winning a race. She enters the Safely Kept in peak form, having finished second in the Cal Cup Distaff last month.

"Right now, she's sharp as a tack," Levine said, adding, "I know it's not easy, the other horse has an edge in winning."

What will it take for 4 for 33 Party Pirate to win?

"She'll probably need Rolly Polly not to run her race," Levine said.

Jockey Kent Desormeaux switches from Party Pirate to Rolly Polly and Julie Krone lands the mount on Party Pirate.

Levine said, "[Krone] is patient, and you have to be patient with [Party Pirate] . . . take hold, let her settle, and make a run."

Rolly Polly and Party Pirate are not likely to meet again. The graded stakes winner Rolly Polly is worth plenty as a broodmare and Party Pirate will aim for California-bred stakes during the Santa Anita winter meet.

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