Hot Novel, winner of the Rancho Bernardo Breeders' Cup Handicap in her last start, carries high weight Wednesday in the $87,525 Autumn Days Handicap, the stakes feature of opening day of the Oak Tree meeting at Santa Anita Park.
Stylish Star, who has been competitive against tougher company at longer distances, will shorten up for the 6 1/2-furlong sprint down the turf course. An overflow cast passed the entry box, with 15 fillies and mares vying for spots in the 14-stall starting gate.
Joanne Nor's Hot Novel, trained by her husband, Fabio, won the Rancho Bernardo with jockey Kent Desormeaux up for the first time. Last year's Eclipse Award winning rider will be back aboard for the Autumn Days.
Hot Novel showed a liking for the hillside course last winter, winning the B. Thoughtful Stakes and hitting the board in two other stakes on it.
Stylish Star beat Hot Novel in the Las Cienegas Handicap in March. She was second in both the Gamely Handicap at Hollywood and Palomar Handicap at Del Mar, and third in Hollypark's Beverly Hills Handicap, all graded stakes efforts.
The full Autumn Days field, in post position order, includes Down Again, Chris McCarron riding at 117 pounds; Stylish Star, Eddie Delahoussaye, 118; Linda Card, Rafael Meza, 113; Gin Rummy Judy, David Flores, 111; Hasty Pasty, Corey Nakatani, 115; Baba Cool, Pat Valenzuela, 116; Tasteful T.V., Julio Garcia, 115; Hot Novel, Desormeaux, 120; Tis Juliet, Gary Stevens, 115; Yugo Marie, Robbie Davis, 112; Paper Princess, Laffit Pincay Jr., 117; Classic Value, Jorge Velasquez, 116; Lindsey Semple's Brought to Mind, Alex Solis, 114; and Devil's Orchid, Russell Baze, 116. Stakes winners abound in the field. Down Again won the Monrovia Handicap on this course. Tis Juliet took Belmont's Grade I Shuvee in an upset. Paper Princess won the Mt. Wilson Stakes on the Santa Anita turf and the Valkyr Handicap on the dirt at Hollywood. Brought to Mind will make her first start since capturing the Senorita Breeders' Cup Stakes at Hollywood. Devil's Orchid is riding a three-race winning streak, capped by the June Darling at Del Mar.
Classic Value and her connections, trainer Bill Cesare and jockey Jorge Velasquez, have shipped from Arlington Park for the Oak Tree meeting.