08/18/2004 11:00PM

Ticker Tape out to prove she's for real


DEL MAR, Calif. - Ticker Tape was a 12-1 outsider when she emerged from the pack in early stretch of the Grade 1 Hollywood Oaks last month and scored an upset. The race marked Ticker Tape's third stakes win, but first in a Grade 1.

Saturday, Ticker Tape will be out to prove she can duplicate that performance in the $300,000 Del Mar Oaks.

"You always worry that people will think that race is a fluke," trainer Jim Cassidy said of the American Oaks. "She hasn't done anything wrong since we got her. I know she's a good filly, but I don't know how good."

Run over 1 1/8 miles on turf, the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks drew seven. Ticker Tape was impressive in her last start, but she is not a standout. Sagitta Ra, Seducer's Song, and Sweet Win can play major roles with their best races.

was a longshot in the American Oaks because of the large field of 13 and her fourth-place finish in the Grade 2 Honeymoon Breeders' Cup Handicap over 1 1/8 miles on turf at Hollywood Park. In that June 5 race, Ticker Tape was at the back of the field early, chased a slow pace, and lost by 1 3/4 lengths to Lovely Rafaela.

"I was disappointed, but she's not a super-horse," Cassidy said.

In the American Oaks, Ticker Tape was fourth early, second on the final turn, and won by a length over the Japanese invader Dance in the Mood.

Kent Desormeaux, who was aboard for those two races, retains the mount on Saturday.

In the Del Mar Oaks, Ticker Tape figures to chase Western Hemisphere, who was second in the Honeymoon. Ticker Tape could stalk the pace, if needed.

"It will depend on how much speed there is," Cassidy said.

could be brave on the front. Trained by Bob Baffert, she was fourth in the American Oaks, leading to early stretch before losing by 3 1/2 lengths. She returned to win the Fleet Treat Stakes over seven furlongs against California-bred 3-year-old fillies on July 24.

Sweet Win and Seducer's Song are coming off impressive stakes wins. Seducer's Song won the Grade 3 Lake George Stakes over 1 1/16 miles on turf at Saratoga on Aug. 2, her first stakes win. Trained by Christophe Clement, Seducer's Song rallied from eighth that day, but has also been effective as a stalker.

Sweet Win won the Grade 2 San Clemente Handicap here over a mile on turf on July 31. The race marked Sweet Win's first start for owner Gayle Fogelson and trainer Jeff Mullins, who bought her privately for $175,000 earlier in the summer.

Sweet Win was helped by a fast pace that day. She trailed by as many as 10 lengths before launching a rally that caught the heavily favored Miss Vegas.

Sagitta Ra will have plenty of backers. She was second in an allowance race over 1 1/16 miles on turf on July 29. Sent off as the 1-2 favorite, Sagitta Ra rallied from eighth to miss by a half-length to John's Kinda Girl.

"It was too far back and she had to do too much in the end," said Humberto Ascanio, assistant trainer to Bobby Frankel.

The allowance race was Sagitta Ra's first start since a third-place finish in the Honeymoon.

A similar race could put her close to the front at the finish of the Del Mar Oaks, and make her a challenger to Ticker Tape's position at the top of the California division.

The field

Del Mar Oaks
Purse: $300,000; 1 1/8 miles (turf); Grade 1

1Western HemisphereT. Baze7-2
2Ticker TapeK. Desormeaux2-1
3Sagitta RaC. Nakatani 6-1
4Sweet WinV. Espinoza 4-1
5Seducer's SongM. Smith7-2
6AmoramaD. Flores12-1
7Red TopJ. Valdivia Jr.15-1

* All starters carry 122 pounds
* Odds by Michael Hammersly
* Television: Saturday, 5-6:30 p.m.. (Eastern), ESPN