11/24/2005 1:00AM

'Celestial' favored again

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Bill Denver/EquiPhotos
Celestial Legend passed on the Valley Stream to run in the Toddler.

Celestial Legend, heavily favored in each of her last two starts, figures to be a short price again Saturday in the $75,000 Toddler Stakes for 2-year-olds fillies at Laurel Park.

The seven-furlong Toddler is co-featured with the $75,000 H. Steward Mitchell, a race that was thrown wide open with the early scratch of Travelin Leroy, who would have been a prohibitive favorite. The seven-furlong Mitchell has eight 2-year-old colts and geldings.

Celestial Legend brings a 3-for-3 record into the Toddler, including an easy victory in the Holly Stakes at The Meadowlands a month ago.

Trainer Dale Capuano chose to run Celestial Legend in the Toddler rather than last weekend's Grade 3 Valley Stream at Aqueduct as a stepping-stone to the Juvenile Filly Championship at Laurel on Dec. 26.

"I scratched her out of a $100,000 stakes in New York on Sunday where she was 5-2, so I hope I did the right thing," Capuano said. "I want to run her in the Juvenile Filly Championship stretching from seven furlongs to a mile."

Celestial Legend was an odds-on choice when she defeated optional claimers at Laurel by 13 lengths in September and drew off to a 3 1/2-length victory in the Holly on Oct. 28. Those two performances were worth Beyer Speed Figures of 73 and 71.

Several other fillies in the seven-horse field are within range of Celestial Legend on the Beyer scale.

Sea Pines, 2 for 3 lifetime, actually owns the field's best Beyer, a 76 she earned for a win over first-level allowance runners at Delaware earlier this month. She also has a win at the Toddler distance over Laurel's main track.

Aunt Elaine, from the barn of high-percentage trainer Richard Small, will be making her first start since defeating Sea Pines on Sept. 21. She has since had three bullet workouts at Pimlico.

Painted Rose, trained by Lupe Preciado, ships in from Philadelphia Park after easily winning her career debut. She's a threat if she moves forward at all off her 67 Beyer.

Lightly raced recent maiden winners Dancehall Fever and Highflyingemblem could be the key horses in the Mitchell, in which six of the seven runners posted a Beyer between 70 and 76 in their most recent start on dirt .

Dancehall Fever, trained by Mike Pino, cruised to a seven-length win over six opponents a month ago at Delaware Park.

Highflyingemblem, second in his career debut against maiden claimers in late September, shipped to Laurel a month later and easily defeated straight maidens. He will be making his first start since being transferred to the barn of Cam Gambolati.

The morning line favorite at 2-1, however, is Creve Coeur, a winner via disqualification in the Maryland Million Nursery. Trainer Graham Motion is bringing back Creve Coeur a week after a dull effort on turf in the Laurel Futurity.

Four other horses - Crafty Ticker, Preferred Lender, Scruples In, and Nine Best * all come into the Mitchell off a daylight victory in allowance or optional claiming races.

Charles Town: Caber's Cutie unbeaten

Caber's Cutie, unbeaten in two starts since adding Lasix, figures to be a heavy favorite in the inaugural running of the $40,000 Sylvia Bishop Memorial at Charles Town.

The seven-furlong race for West Virginia-bred 3-year-old fillies is named for the country's first black female trainer, a longtime regular at Charles Town.

Caber's Cutie, trained by Renee Schlesinger, finished ninth with a Beyer Figure of 32 in her career debut. In her first start on Lasix three weeks later, she produced an 83 Beyer in a 15 1/2-length win over maidens. Caber's Cutie then raced above her eligible conditions when she defeated nonwinners-of-three allowance runners as the even-money favorite.

Karate Kat, who will be racing with blinkers for the first time, appears to be the chief competition for Caber's Cutie. She is also making her first start since joining Dale Capuano's powerful stable.

The possibility of a wet track would enhance the chances of longshot Miss Angel. Two starts ago, racing over a sloppy surface on the West Virginia Breeders Classics card, Miss Angel rallied to finish second with a career-best 68 Beyer at 36-1.