07/03/2004 12:00AM

Ticker Tape has the right answer

Kent Desormeaux has little need for his whip as he and Ticker Tape near the wire in Saturday's Grade 1 American Oaks at Hollywood Park.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Back in April, after Ticker Tape won the Providencia Stakes over a mile on turf at Santa Anita, trainer Jim Cassidy wondered aloud whether the filly would be competitive at longer distances.

Saturday, he got an emphatic answer.

Ticker Tape, who had failed as the favorite in two prep races earlier at this meeting, pulled a 12-1 upset in the Grade 1, $750,000 at Hollywood Park, holding off a late rally from the Japanese invader Dance in the Mood.

The victory marked the biggest career win for owners Jim Ford, Deron Pearson and Jack Sweesy, and trainer Jim Cassidy. Ticker Tape earned $450,000 for the win.

Ridden by Kent Desormeaux, Ticker Tape was always within close range of pacesetter Western Hemisphere, who set early fractions of 24.23 and 49.18 seconds. Desormeaux had Ticker Tape in fourth place at the end of the backstretch. Ticker Tape engaged Western Hemisphere on the final turn, took the lead in early stretch, and pulled clear in midstretch to win by a length.

Ticker Tape ($26) finished 1 1/4 miles on turf in 2:01.54.

Dance in the Mood, the winner of the Japanese 1000 Guineas and the 7-5 favorite in the American Oaks, raced along the rail throughout. She closed well in the final furlong, but couldn't catch Ticker Tape.

Hollywood Story, who was making her first start on turf, closed well in the final half-mile to finish third in the field of 13 3-year-old fillies.

Ticker Tape began her career in England where she was stakes placed. Acquired last fall by Cassidy, she has finished fourth or better in seven starts in California, all in stakes.

Following her win in the Providencia, Ticker Tape finished second by a head in the Senorita Stakes on May 15 and was fourth in the Honeymoon Handicap on June 5.