07/01/2008 11:00PM

Tough draw for My Baby Baby


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Trainer Ken McPeek brought his family to Southern California for the week, turning the opportunity to run My Baby Baby in the Grade 1, $750,000 American Oaks into a Southern California vacation. The McPeeks have encamped at a beachside hotel in Santa Monica, which is about as far as My Baby Baby will be from the rail when she starts in the American Oaks on Saturday at Hollywood Park.

My Baby Baby landed the outside post in a field of 12 3-year-old fillies when post positions were drawn Wednesday for the American Oaks, the headline race on a sensational Saturday card that includes five stakes, three of which are Grade 1 races.

"I'm not real thrilled with the post," McPeek said at the Beverly Hills restaurant Mastro's, where Hollywood Park held a luncheon at which posts were drawn for the 1 1/4-mile American Oaks and the CashCall Mile, both of which are on turf. "It makes the task trickier."

My Baby Baby is owned by Magdalena Racing, the stable name for McPeek and his wife, Sue. She is named for their daughter, Jenna, who objected to being called a baby when she was younger.

"She used to say, 'I'm not a baby. I'm a big girl,'" Sue McPeek said.

"I told her, but you're my baby baby," Ken McPeek said.

My Baby Baby is coming off a powerful victory in a first-level allowance race going 1 1/16 miles on turf at Churchill Downs on June 4. Another Kentucky invader, Regret Stakes winner Pure Clan, drew the rail and was installed as the as the 7-2 favorite on the morning line set by Russell Hudak of Hollywood Park. The Irish filly Carribean Sunset, third just two weeks ago in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot, is the second choice at 9-2. My Baby Baby is 12-1.

"She ran a super race last time," McPeek said. The extra distance of the Oaks "is a non-issue," he said.

"She'll run all day," McPeek said.

Seven older fillies and mares were entered in the Grade 2, $750,000 CashCall Mile, including Lady of Venice, who won the race last year, and Ventura, who won the Just a Game at Belmont Park on June 7 by three-quarters of a length over Lady of Venice.

The American Oaks is the ninth race and the Cash Call Mile the seventh on an 11-race card that begins at noon Pacific on Saturday.

The other Grade 1 races Saturday are the Vanity Handicap, at 1 1/8 miles for fillies and mares, and the Triple Bend Handicap, for sprinters at seven furlongs. Each is worth $300,000.

The Vanity, the day's fifth race, is headed by the unbeaten Zenyatta, who captured the Milady Handicap on May 31 for her fifth straight victory. She was assigned the highest impost of her career, 124 pounds, but still will be a heavy favorite against six rivals, most notably Hawthorne Handicap winner Tough Tiz's Sis.

Kentucky-based Elite Squadron, who won the Churchill Downs Handicap on Kentucky Derby Day before finishing third in Aristides Stakes on May 31, is co-topweight at 119 pounds for the Triple Bend along with Street Boss, who won the Los Angeles Handicap at Hollywood Park on May 10 for his third straight victory. Five others are in the Triple Bend.

The Grade 3, $100,000 Hollywood Juvenile Champion, slotted as the day's third race, is the first of five stakes Saturday. Ten 2-year-olds were entered in the six-furlong race, and each is seeking his first stakes win.