06/06/2001 11:00PM

Cheryl P. tries mile in Mesquite


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Cheryl P., who romped by a cumulative 14 3/4 lengths in three consecutive stakes in February and March, will attempt to stretch out to the distance of her last victory, a mile, in the $100,000 Mesquite Breeders' Cup for 3-year-old fillies Saturday at Lone Star Park.

The front-running Cheryl P. won two six-furlong races at Oaklawn Park in February, the $50,000 Martha Washington and the $50,000 Dixie Belle, before cruising by 6 3/4 lengths in the one-mile Houston Oaks at Sam Houston Race Park on March 10.

She returned to finish fifth in the Grade 2 Fantasy at Oaklawn, and in her most recent start was third, beaten three-quarters of a length as the favorite, in the six-furlong Wafare Farm Stakes at Lone Star on May 19. "Last time she went out and of course was the early speed, and got caught by two closers," said Barry Germany, who trains Cheryl P. for Ro Parra. "She was in front at the [eighth pole] in 56 and change. She gave us 100 percent. The filly always does."

Germany worked Cheryl P. six furlongs in a bullet 1:12 on May 30 to prepare her for this two-turn race. "She's been training unbelievable," said Germany. "I don't think there's as much early speed in this race, so we're not going to be going any 44 and change halves like [the Wafare]. That will be much to her advantage, and if something does go out and try to hook her, she can lay off the pace a little, too."

Glen Murphy, who was aboard Cheryl P. for her stakes run this spring, has the return call Saturday. Cliff Berry will be aboard Spanish Guitar, who finished third to Cheryl P. the last time the two met, which was in the Houston Oaks. "Cheryl P. is a standout, but my filly has improved since the Houston Oaks," said Jayd Schuyler, who trains Spanish Guitar for Henthorn Racing, Inc.

Spanish Guitar, who won last year's seven-furlong Miss Houston Stakes, has moved forward since the Oaks, winning a one-mile allowance over older rivals at Oaklawn Park, then returning in her most recent start to finish third in a tough allowance race at Churchill Downs on May 12. She has trained well for the Mesquite, working a near bullet three furlongs in 1:00.60 at Lone Star on May 24.

Another who has trained well for the Mesquite is Zeta, a two-time winner at a mile for trainer Elliott Walden.