11/18/2005 12:00AM

Catch My Fancy ready to rise in rankings


PHOENIX - Quick, name the second-best juvenile filly out West behind Wild Fit. Give up? That's all right; I can't do it either. That's because this has been a strange year for juvenile fillies out West.

Wild Fit stamped herself among the elite - in fact, only likely filly champ Folklore is definitely above her - but a mish-mash of various winners in other stakes, injuries, and setbacks have muddled the rest of the division's ranking.

Sunday's $100,000 Moccasin at Hollywood Park, a prep for the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet on Dec. 18, may help clear things up.

Few runners in the field have proven much. Private World and Bettarun Fast ran one-two in the Anoakia at Oak Tree at Santa Anita. Cotton Bay graduated impressively for trainer Bob Baffert at Oak Tree, but, while enormously promising, she will be facing winners for the first time. Same with True Xena.

So the filly who might be most ready to move forward is Catch My Fancy, from the Craig Dollase barn. A daughter of top-class sprinter Yes It's True, Catch My Fancy made a grand debut, romping by five lengths while in hand against maidens at Del Mar on Aug. 28. She came back in the Barretts Debutante at Fairplex and had little trouble, stalking the pace and drawing off to win easily again, this time by better than six lengths.

Dollase then shipped Catch My Fancy to Belmont for the Grade 1 Frizette Oct. 8. Well bet at 4-1, Catch My Fancy was never a factor over a sloppy track. She broke sixth along the inside and basically stayed there, finishing fifth behind Adieu, losing by more than 10 lengths.

A big run there would have sent her to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. Instead, she came back sick, and no doubt her illness affected her performance.

Dollase shipped Catch My Fancy back to Southern California, and she has worked sharply of late, indicating she's back to her old self.

It doesn't hurt that she faces no opponent like Folklore or Wild Fit in the Moccasin. And it doesn't hurt that she cuts back in distance. The Frizette was at a mile, so moving back to seven furlongs in the Moccasin might help her, particularly since her first two career wins came going 6 1/2 furlongs.

The return home, the move to a softer level and a shorter trip, and a return to complete health can get Catch My Fancy back on track, which would mean regaining a spot just behind Wild Fit in the division pecking order out West.

Turkey, dressing, and stakes racing

Next week is one of my favorite weeks of the year, and I am not talking about turkey dinners. Even without the Hollywood Turf Festival - canceled because of no turf racing at Hollywood Park - there are big races throughout the holiday week. Here's an early look at four of them:

Cigar Mile: Silver Wagon was good enough to run second in the Met Mile behind defending Horse of the Year Ghostzapper, and good enough to run third despite significant trouble in the Grade 3 Sport Page on the Breeders' Cup undercard at Belmont Oct. 29. He may improve in the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct going first time for the red-hot trainer Richard Dutrow Jr., and might be a price with the crowd flocking to trainer Bobby Frankel's duo of Mass Media and Badge of Silver and to trainer Todd Pletcher's defending champ Lion Tamer.

Kentucky Jockey Club: High Cotton hinted at having significant ability this summer, but a disappointing run in the Breeders' Futurity knocked him back. But this son of Dixie Union bounced back with a strong run in the Grade 3 Iroquois at Churchill a few weeks ago, doing all the hard work on the pace and succumbing late to perfect-trip closer Catcominatcha while well clear of third. Yes, Private Vow may be the horse to beat in the Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs, but his presence, as well as that of Catcominatcha, can help your price here.

Demoiselle: Better Now will be tough in the Demoiselle at Aqueduct coming off a strong win in the Grade 3 Tempted, and Capote's Crown, who finished right behind Better Now, looms scary, too. But Cinderella's Dream, trained by Pletcher, has also hinted at having significant ability. Off a game maiden win and a 97 Beyer Speed Figure, she came back against the top New York-bred 2-year-old fillies in the Maid of the Mist Oct. 22. She stalked the pace and finished well in a professional win. She's by Prime Timber, a proven router, and looks more than ready to handle the Demoiselle's 1 1/8 miles.

Top Flight: Bending Strings had been a horse without a distance. Well, that's all changed now. After she ran some longer races, her new trainer, Wally Dollase, moved her back to a mile for the Grade 2 Chilukki at Churchill Downs Nov. 6 - and he was rewarded with possibly her best performance ever. She blasted home as much the best, posting a 104 Beyer. Now that Dollase has found Bending Strings's niche, the Grade 2 Top Flight at Aqueduct looks perfect for her.