05/02/2005 12:00AM

Breeze shows Sis City's ready


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Sis City stands ready. With a five-furlong workout Sunday at Churchill Downs, she has completed her serious preparation for the 131st Kentucky Oaks, for which she will be a heavy favorite Friday.

With exercise rider Michelle Nevin aboard, Sis City breezed in an easy 1:02, prompting trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. to pronounce her fully prepared.

"She is on her game," said Dutrow, who was in for the work before returning soon afterward to New York. "I think that's the best she's ever breezed. She loves this track, loves it."

Dutrow was scheduled to return to Kentucky on Wednesday. Since claiming Sis City for $50,000 last summer at Saratoga, Dutrow has sent her out to win 4 of 6 starts, most notably a 16-length romp in the Davona Dale at Gulfstream Park in February and a 10 1/2-length score in the Ashland at Keeneland last month.

"Every time we've run her, she has been superb," said Dutrow.

Two other Oaks fillies also were out for final preps in recent days. Summerly, trained by Steve Asmussen, breezed a half-mile Monday in 48.20 seconds under Corey Lanerie, and Memorette, trained by Bill Currin, went five furlongs Sunday in 1:01.80 under Joe Deegan.

Summerly is something of the Oaks wild card. She was sensational over the winter, when she cruised to victory in three straight races at the Fair Grounds, but she was then beaten 19 lengths by Sis City in the Ashland.

Asmussen said Summerly came out of the Ashland "pretty jammed up afterward but has bounced back well." Asmussen admitted to being "as surprised as anyone" in how soundly the filly was defeated in the Ashland but said, "We think we've got her turned around for Friday."

With jockeys, this is the prospective lineup for the Grade 1 Oaks, for which entries were to be drawn Tuesday: Dance Away Capote, John Velazquez; Gallant Secret, Mike Smith; In the Gold, Rafael Bejarano; Memorette, Kent Desormeaux; Rugula, Greta Kuntzweiler; Runway Model, Pat Valenzuela; Sis City, Edgar Prado; and Summerly, Jerry Bailey.

Weekend loaded with big stakes

The Oaks is one of 14 stakes to be run here this week, beginning with the Mamzelle and La Troienne on Thursday and ending with the Derby on Saturday.

Among the more notable of those stakes is the $400,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, a Grade 1 race that directly precedes the Derby on the Saturday card. Churchill officials are expecting about 10 older horses for the 1 1/8-mile Woodford: America Alive, A to the Z, G P Fleet, Meteor Storm, Mustanfar, Perfect Drift, Place Cowboy, Quest Star, Senor Swinger, and Sweet Return.

Also on Derby Day, Madcap Escapade figures as a huge favorite in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff, while owner Michael Tabor appears to hold a strong hand with Pomeroy and Lion Tamer in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Handicap. The Humana Distaff lost one of its main challengers, Lady Tak, when Steve Asmussen opted to enter her in a classified allowance, the third race on the Thursday card at Churchill. The other Derby Day races are the Three Chimneys Juvenile and Winnercomm Turf Mile.

Ashado may skip Louisville

Ashado, last year's Kentucky Oaks winner and 3-year-old champion filly, is likely to skip Friday's $300,000 Louisville Breeders' Cup, trainer Todd Pletcher said.

Pletcher said he was not happy with the 123-pound weight assignment and the less-than-stellar workout by Ashado on Sunday. Ashado carried 121 pounds when she finished fifth in the Apple Blossom Handicap last time out.

"I thought when you won you picked up weight. I didn't know you did it when you lost," Pletcher said. "I would say I'm leaning towards not running."

Pletcher said he was also a bit discouraged by Ashado's workout Sunday, when Angel Cordero Jr. had to really scrub on her to get her to keep up with Flower Alley.

"Angel said he thought she was having trouble with the surface," Pletcher said.

Pletcher said that possible alternatives to the Louisville are the Pimlico Distaff on May 20 and the Shuvee at Belmont on May 21.

If Ashado doesn't run in the Louisville, favoritism may fall to Star Parade, who finished a troubled second in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom last out. She would be the starting highweight at 117 pounds.

Others expected to run are Two Trail Sioux, winner of five straight races; Island Sand, last year's Grade 1 Acorn winner; Saintliness, winner of five of six career starts; La Reason, Storm's Darling, and Tempus Fugit.

Dollase should continue turf success

Since 2002, only 10 trainers have won more turf races at Churchill Downs than Wally Dollase, a statistic made significant by the fact that up until this year his horses were not based in Kentucky, but in California. Running primarily shippers, Dollase has gone 6 for his last 11 with turf starters at Churchill, a 55-percent win rate.

Wednesday in the ninth race at Churchill Downs, a $57,000 three-other-than allowance for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on turf, Dollase's winning ways are expected to continue. He has entered Stupendous Miss, who ran sixth, beaten three lengths by Megahertz, in the Grade 2 Santa Ana Handicap at Santa Anita March 20. Stupendous Miss won a second-level turf allowance at Santa Anita on Feb. 18, in her first start since coming to the U.S. from France.

She earned a 94 Beyer Speed Figure for her effort in the Santa Ana Handicap and a 96 for her allowance victory. A repeat of either figure would likely be good enough to win Wednesday. None of her opponents has run faster than a 94 Beyer on turf.

Sister Star, sixth in the Grade 3 Jenny Wiley Stakes at Keeneland on April 17, is one of her principal adversaries. Sister Star has shown a fondness for the Churchill Downs turf course, recording two wins and a second in three starts. In contrast, she is winless in six races on other grass courses.

- additional reporting by David Grening and Byron King