05/24/2007 11:00PM

Asmussen aims to win Cinderella again


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The top 2-year-olds in California arrived Friday from Kentucky.

A year after winning the Cinderella Stakes at Hollywood Park with shipper Richwoman, trainer Steve Asmussen will plunder California again on Sunday. Asmussen trains Kentucky shippers Wonderful Luck and Bold Trust, the main contenders in the first two juvenile stakes of the meet.

Wonderful Luck is the likely favorite in the $75,000 Cinderella Stakes for fillies (race 8); Bold Trust runs in the $75,000 Willard Proctor Memorial Stakes (race 3). Both races are at 5 1/2 furlongs.

"They're two quality 2-year-olds, mentally and physically," Asmussen said. Both are owned by Vinery Stable and sired by Trust N Luck, the Vinery stallion whose first crop is off to a smashing start.

While he expects Bold Trust to run well in the Proctor, Asmussen said Wonderful Luck is the reason for the trip. "The colt, being a maiden, would not have come if it were not such a good spot for the filly," he said.

The Cinderella is the best stakes race Sunday, and includes front-runners Excessive Heat and Another Aleyna. Wonderful Luck will rally from behind, which she did in a strong April 18 debut on Polytrack at Keeneland. She saved ground in midpack, rallied along the rail through the turn, angled out at the top of the lane, and drew clear.

Wonderful Luck's affinity for Polytrack is one reason Asmussen was eager to race on Cushion Track at Hollywood. "I may be ignorant, but I expect there to be similarities [in the surfaces]," he said.

Wonderful Luck lost her second start at Churchill Downs after a slow break, but has trained well since and enters as the most seasoned Cinderella contender.

Wesley Ward also trains runners in both stakes, and said Cinderella entrant Excessive Heat is the one he fancies. She makes her second start after winning the first 2-year-old race of 2007 in Southern California, a two-furlong race March 21.

In straightaway races in California, 2-year-olds cannot wear blinkers, but Ward will add them to Excessive Heat for her second start.

"I like to have blinkers on all my young horses," he said. "The less they see, the more they stay focused, and the better they run."

Another Aleyna won her debut May 3 at Hollywood Park, racing gate to wire for trainer David La Croix.