05/18/2006 11:00PM

Allowance sprint subs for stakes


There are nine 3-year-old fillies of varying degrees of promise scheduled to race on Sunday at Monmouth Park, but not in the Just Smashing Stakes, which had to be scrapped for lack of interest when entries were taken on Friday.

The Just Smashing, written for 3-year-old fillies at 5 1/2 furlongs on dirt, fell victim to a horse shortage, failing to make it onto Sunday's card because only three horses were entered. In lieu of the Just Smashing, nine horses in the same division went into race 8, an entry-level sprint allowance at six furlongs that's co-featured along with the ninth race, for older second-level allowance horses at six furlongs.

Michael Dempsey, Monmouth's racing secretary, took the Just Smashing's demise in stride.

"Recently, there's nothing surprising with the stakes races everywhere in the country," said Dempsey. "There's a lot of racing, and it seems like fields everywhere are shorter."

Nine horses in an entry-level allowance, however, is a pretty decent field, though one part of the coupled entry from the barn of Willard Thompson - - could be scratched. And where better to look for a winner in Sunday's eighth than the nominations list for the Just Smashing? Two horses nominated to the stakes, Haddie Be Good and Yolie's Choice, went into the allowance race instead, and Yolie's Choice looks especially good in this spot.

Trained by Kelly Breen for owner Dennis Narlinger, has won only 1 of 4 career starts, but looks talented enough. She debuted last October at Belmont, showing good speed and finishing second in a nine-horse maiden race. What followed were two failed attempts to get Yolie's Choice to run longer, but back after a winter break in a Gulfstream Park sprint race, Yolie's Choice won her maiden fairly comfortably on April 21. She's drawn well in post 4 to press the pace, and figures to have the lead at the stretch call, if not the wire.

Race 9 drew a well-matched field of eight, but on paper has an overabundance of early speed. Handicappers could do worse than to look for a dead closer, even a longshot such as the rail-drawn Lightning Power, who looks much more like a turf router than a dirt sprinter, but could be passing tiring horses in the stretch.