In front of a sparse opening-day crowd of 4,472, Diamond Diva shined with a come-from-behind victory in the $110,800 Wilshire Handicap on Wednesday on the turf course at Hollywood Park.
Diamond Diva, a three-time winner in 12 starts in Great Britain, is now two for two in the U.S. Ridden by David Flores, Diamond Diva covered one mile in 1:33.21 and paid $8.20 to win as the 3-1 favorite in the field of nine fillies and mares.
Diamond Diva was fifth at the head of the stretch in the Grade III event but closed strongly to win by three-quarters of a length. Finishing second was Kris' Sis, who was ridden by Michael Baze.
Trainer James Cassidy said he originally thought about running his filly at Churchill Downs in a preliminary race to the Kentucky Derby. But he feared the horse might not handle the crowd and commotion very well, so he opted to run her in the Wilshire instead.
James Kasparoff, the trainer of Bob Black Jack, said he plans to ship his horse to Louisville this Saturday in hopes of getting him into the Kentucky Derby, which will be run the following Saturday.
Bob Black Jack, co-owned by Jeff Harmon and Kasparoff's brother Tim, finished a close second to Colonel John in the Santa Anita Derby.
Initially after that race, in which Bob Black Jack earned $150,000 for his second-place finish, the Kasparoffs and Harmon said they didn't plan to enter the horse in the Kentucky Derby. But they had a change of heart.
The Derby field is limited to 20 horses with the most money earned in graded stakes races. Bob Black Jack now stands at No. 21 with $180,000, so one possible entrant would have to drop out in order for Bob Black Jack to become eligible.
Pyro leads the list with $1,020,000, and Colonel John is fourth at $720,000. Behindatthebar, with graded stakes earnings of $201,500, moved up to 19th after winning Saturday's Coolmore Lexington Stakes at Keeneland in Kentucky.
Eclipse Award-winning jockey Garrett Gomez will return to Southern California to ride in Hollywood Park's Cal National Gold Rush card Sunday.
His mounts include Pleasure Grounds in the featured $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes.
Gomez left Santa Anita after March 30 to ride in the Keeneland meet that began April 4.