08/27/2007 12:00AM

'Champagne' makes debut in stakes


DEL MAR, Calif. - The career debut of the well-regarded Champagne Miss was not intended for Wednesday's $100,000 Generous Portion Stakes at Del Mar.

Trainer Dan Hendricks would have preferred starting her in a maiden race Thursday, but when the race overfilled, Champagne Miss was not assured of a spot.

Hendricks thinks Champagne Miss can be effective in the six-furlong Generous Portion, which is for 2-year-old statebred fillies. The field of eight lacks two of the division's best - Treadmill, winner of the CTBA Stakes on July 20, and Comical Vacation, a maiden winner earlier this month. They are bound for the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante on Monday.

Champagne Miss caught Hendricks's eye earlier this summer when she was sold for $120,000 at the Barretts sale in June, the highest-priced 2-year-old at that sale.

Champagne Miss, who will start from posto3, had her final tune-up with a three-furlong workout in 35.80 seconds Sunday.

"I wanted to give her a chance to stretch her legs before I ran her," Hendricks said of the workout. "She's a big, strong, colt-looking filly. She's done everything right since she came out of the sale. We've worked her in company and out of the gate in company."

One Hot Wish, who set a world record of 48.87 seconds for 4 1/2 furlongs in her debut at Keeneland in April, makes her third start, following a seventh in the Grade 3 Sorrento Stakes here Aug. 8. One Hot Wish was on the lead for the first half-mile under jockey Joe Talamo before fading. Blake Heap, assistant to trainer Wesley Ward, said Talamo will use different tactics in the Generous Portion, allowing One Hot Wish to run more freely.

"She didn't want to be rated," Heap said. "He started fighting her. She didn't want any part of that."

Ward also starts Billie Bob, who was disqualified from fourth to fifth in the CTBA Stakes for causing interference in the stretch.

The Generous Portion will be the third stakes appearance for Livia La Vida Loca, who finished second in the Juan Gonzalez Memorial Stakes at Pleasanton in June. She finished third in the CTBA Stakes, but was disqualified and placed fourth for causing interference.

Trained by Doug O'Neill, Livia La Vida Loca returned to win a starter allowance over six furlongs on Aug. 10.