06/03/2007 11:00PM

Belle Fleur takes shot on synthetic


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Belle Fleur has won 4 of 7 starts, and was a stakes winner in Brazil. She won for the first time in the United States in a six-furlong allowance on turf at Hollywood Park on May 11.

Despite those accomplishments, trainer Paulo Lobo has questions about Belle Fleur's ability. Lobo has entered the 4-year-old filly in an optional claimer at six furlongs on Hollywood Park's synthetic track on Wednesday, her first start on that surface.

"She has a lot of speed, and I'd like to see how she'll go on the Cushion Track to see what we have," he said.

Belle Fleur is one of eight fillies and mares entered in the $51,000 race. Belle Fleur is the only member of the field to have won her last start, and is one of several entrants who have considerable speed.

Belle Fleur, who will be ridden by Brice Blanc, may not be as quick as Udriga, who finished fourth in the restricted Tuzla Stakes on May 11. Udriga has run opening quarter-miles quicker than 22 seconds on occasion.

So has Argentinisima, who finished fourth in an optional claimer at Santa Anita in her last start on March 24. Argentinisima is unbeaten in two starts on the synthetic surface at Hollywood Park, both last fall.

The presence of other front-runners may affect Belle Fleur's tactics.

"She has a lot of speed, but I'll leave it to Blanc," Lobo said.

Belle Fleur won a six-furlong stakes on dirt in Brazil in March 2006. Sent off as a heavy favorite in that race, she drew off to win by 9 1/2 lengths.

"She was very impressive," Lobo said.

Belle Fleur followed that performance with a 10-length win in an allowance race at about seven furlongs on turf, her final start in Brazil. In three starts for Lobo in the United States, she has finished sixth and second in addition to the May 11 win.

The field includes the stakes-placed Yodeladytoo and the stakes winner Wee Bit Fancy.

Yodeladytoo finished second in the CERF Handicap at Del Mar last summer. She was claimed for $62,500 at Santa Anita on March 24, when she finished third. Wednesday's race is her first start for trainer Ted H. West.

Wee Bit Fancy won the Pio Pico Stakes at Fairplex Park in 2006. She was claimed by Jeff Mullins for $50,000 on March 31 and returned to finish second in a six-furlong turf race on April 26.