07/01/2003 11:00PM

Alpenwald gets top billing


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - After winning eight races at Hollywood Park last summer with 2-year-olds sired by first-crop stallion Swiss Yodeler, trainer Mike Harrington felt less urgency to get winners for the sire this year.

"Last year, I wanted to get [Swiss Yodeler] off the ground in a hurry, and I was aggressive with the young horses to get them to the races, and get them running early," he said. "This year I did not push them hard; we were two to three weeks behind last year's schedule. We just didn't have the pressure we had last year."

While juvenile races rarely are described as deliberate, the purposeful approach by Harrington is paying off. With more than two weeks remaining in the Hollywood spring-summer meet and despite a late start, Harrington already has won eight races with 2-year-olds, including five sired by Swiss Yodeler. Friday, runaway maiden winner Alpenwald could become Swiss Yodeler's first graded stakes winner when she starts in the Grade 3 Landaluce Stakes for 2-year-old fillies.

Alpenwald required three starts to get her act in order. When she dropped into a California-bred maiden race at five furlongs June 5, she took off. A full sister to Haggin Stakes winner Oberwald, Alpenwald won by 6 1/2 lengths in 57.66 seconds, the fastest time of the meet by a filly racing that distance. Her Beyer Speed Figure of 82 tops the Landaluce field, and makes her the one to beat under rider Alex Solis.

Alpenwald drew the inside post, which has produced 11 winners from 74 races (14 percent) at the six-furlong Landaluce distance. Five others entered the Landaluce, in which Alpenwald's main rival is the Doug O'Neill-trained Cherish Destiny. The Grand Slam filly raced gate to wire in her second start June 12, earning a 72 Beyer. Speed figures provide an accurate gauge of 2-year-old ability, and Cherish Destiny's 10-point deficit to Alpenwald is significant.

Wacky Patty, who earned a 74 Beyer winning the Nursery Stakes before taking up and being eliminated at the break in the June 8 Cinderella Stakes, also was entered. Hot Weekend, who earned an 82 Beyer (highest of the meet by a 2-year-old filly) in her May 15 debut, bombed in the Cinderella, came out of the race sick, and is aiming for Del Mar.

Three longshots entered the $100,000-added Landaluce. They are Outrageous Oyster, third in the Cinderella; Platinum Princess, a five-length maiden winner at Bay Meadows with a 75 Beyer; and Silver Hawk Lady, a maiden who was blocked through the stretch while finishing fourth behind Cherish Destiny.