03/09/2006 1:00AM

Blinkers have boosted Innocent Appeal


When Innocent Appeal came storming home to win the El Paso Times Handicap at Sunland Park on Feb. 11, it was a surprise. After all, she was 17-1. But if the 3-year-old filly comes up big again in Saturday's $50,000 Island Fashion Stakes, it will be anything but a surprise.

That's because Innocent Appeal appears to have blossomed with the addition of blinkers two starts ago, and even if this race also marks her first try beyond a sprint, she remains attractive. The mile event for 3-year-old fillies lured a field of eight.

Innocent Appeal, a Maryland-bred daughter of Appealing Skier owned and trained by Robert Cappellucci, got her career off to a promising start racing last summer racing at Louisiana Downs and then at Hawthorne for Steve Asmussen, her trainer at the time.

She came here for a $12,500 claimer Jan. 3 and failed to threaten as the 4-5 favorite. Cappellucci saw something he liked and claimed her. He added blinkers for an allowance run here Jan. 17, and she showed decent speed and kept on well to be second at 23-1. Cappellucci wheeled her back in the El Paso Times and she again stalked the pace. She took over in late stretch with a strong run and won going away. She will again be ridden by Carlos Madeira.

Asmussen sends out Innocent Appeal's main rival, the invader Well Hidden, who is a daughter of More Than Ready. Owned by Vinery Stables LLC and R.B. Newton, et al., Well Hidden comes in from Houston, where she won her only two starts in smart fashion. She wired the opposition in her debut there Jan. 6 and on Feb. 3 won again after stalking the pace. Both races were routes, so she has an edge there on Innocent Appeal. Brian Peck rides.

Bosque Beauty comes off a smashing maiden win here at this distance for trainer Cliff Darnell. Legally Wild was third to Innocent Appeal in the El Paso Times and third in an allowance race here Feb. 26. The winner of that race, Visual Effect, is in here as well. She was third behind Innocent Appeal in the Jan. 17 allowance race here.