02/11/2010 12:00AM

Attfield high on his filly


OLDSMAR, Fla. - Trainer Roger Attfield believes Lady Shakespeare has the potential to be a championship-caliber performer in the filly and mare turf division this year. On Saturday, Lady Shakespeare tops an overflow field of 14 fillies and mares in the Grade 3, $125,000 Endeavour Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on turf.

The Endeavour and the $75,000 Suncoast Stakes, for 3-year-old fillies at a mile and 40 yards, top the undercard on Festival Preview Day, which is headed by the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes.

Lady Shakespeare, a 4-year-old filly, has won five of her nine career starts. In her 2010 debut, she charged from eighth in the stretch of the Marshua's River Stakes at Gulfstream Park and finished second, beaten a head.

Attfield has been very patient handling Lady Shakespeare's career.

"She was a slight filly at 2 and was a bit temperamental, so we've taken our time with her," Attfield said from his Payson Park headquarters. "But we've always felt she would improve with time, and such has been the case."

Lady Shakespeare won four of six outings last season, including the Ontario Colleen, and has finished worse than third only twice. Both of those races came over soft turf courses, and Attfield said he will be keeping an eye on the weather; rain was in the forecast for the Tampa area Friday.

"I wouldn't want to race her over soft ground," Attfield said. "The course was soft at Woodbine when she ran poorly as a 2-year-old and was soft at Keeneland in the Queen Elizabeth II, where she also had a bad trip."

Lady Shakespeare will be ridden by John Velazquez in the Endeavour.

Romacaca led every step except the last in the Marshua's River before dead-heating with Lady Shakespeare for second. Romacaca has won two minor stakes for trainer Danny Miller since being claimed for $25,000 last April. She figures to set the pace again Saturday under Jesus Castanon.

Others with a chance in the Endeavour include Cure for Sale, who was fourth in the Grade 1 First Lady at Keeneland last fall; Lomaki, who was fourth, beaten a neck, in the Marshua's River; and Happiness Is, winner of the $100,000 Lady Canterbury last summer.

In the Suncoast, Diva Delite, winner of the Gasparilla here Jan. 16, goes after her fourth straight win. The Suncoast is a prep for the Grade 3 Florida Oaks on March 13.

Rosemary Homeister Jr. will handle Diva Delite again for trainer David Vivian. Diva Delite's main challengers are Imaginary Saint, a Saint Liam filly from the Todd Pletcher barn who ran third in her

3-year-old debut against allowance company at Gulfstream; Miss Aristocrat, who was third in the Gasparilla while racing outside; and Logan Square, who comes into the Suncoast off an 11 1/2-length win over claiming fillies at Calder last time out.