11/22/2006 12:00AM

Cambiocorsa stands out - if she's in


NGLEWOOD, Calif. - Trainer Doug O'Neill said he will make a decision on Friday whether to start Cambiocorsa in the $100,000 Cat's Cradle Stakes for statebred females on Friday or the Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes at Hollywood Park on Sunday.

"We'll let the posts dictate what we'll do," O'Neill said. "We're scared of a couple of speed horses in the Matriarch."

A winner of 9 of 16 starts and $522,055, Cambiocorsa would be a standout in the Cat's Cradle, which is run over 7 1/2 furlongs on the main track. But she has yet to start in a Grade 1, and a win or placing in such a race would greatly enhance her value.

Cambiocorsa is best known for winning her first eight starts on Santa Anita's hillside turf course before finishing third in the California Cup Distaff on Oct. 30.

Despite her recent loss, Cambiocorsa would be favored in the Cat's Cradle in a field that includes Shaggy Mane, who has won her last five starts; Leave Me Alone, the winner of the Grade 1 Test Stakes in 2005; and Getback Time, who has been third in three consecutive stakes.

Shaggy Mane is making her first start for trainer Don Chatlos. Previously trained by Lloyd Mason, she was partially sold to IEAH Stables after winning the William Kyne Breeders' Cup Handicap at Bay Meadows last month.

Jim Kwong, who claimed Shaggy Mane for $12,500 in August, retained a half-ownership, Chatlos said. Shaggy Mane began her winning streak in an $8,000 claimer, but Chatlos said she is training like a stakes-caliber filly.

"Sometimes, horses can go back to being the $8,000 horse they were," he said. "You don't want to be the one holding the hot potato. From day one, she's been a pleasure to train. Maybe she was getting better and better and hopefully she'll keep improving."

Leave Me Alone was fourth in the California Cup Distaff, an improvement from an eighth, sixth, and seventh in graded stakes in the Midwest and East Coast earlier this year.

Trainer Eric Kruljac said he was encouraged by Leave Me Alone's finish in the Distaff.

"She didn't try to run until the last 50 yards and then she made a big rush," he said. "Maybe she can figure it out that she can be a racehorse again."