05/14/2003 11:00PM

Cinema Paradisa poised for big leap


The leap from maiden special weight to stakes company can be formidable, but those who saw Cinema Paradisa's maiden score at Bay Meadows on April 27 will not be inclined to discount her chances in Saturday's $60,000-added Emeryville Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at six furlongs.

Cinema Paradisa, a $100,000 yearling purchase by juvenile champion Capote out of a winning daughter of Seeking the Gold, was something of a disappointment last fall at Golden Gate when she finished third and seventh despite being heavily backed in a pair of two-furlong races. Given a freshening before being stretched out to six furlongs for her Bay Meadows debut on April 6, the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained Cinema Paradisa ran a much improved second to Tyvara, which set the stage for her graduation run.

Bet down to 3-5 for her second start at 3, Cinema Paradisa showed the way through a fast half-mile in 44.07 seconds and then drew off powerfully to score by six lengths in 1:09.82. Off that effort, Cinema Paradisa has the look of a rapidly developing filly who may be just a small step away from becoming a stakes winner.

Also intriguing is Sharp Miss, another improving filly who has blossomed since moving to Bay Meadows. A British Columbia-bred daughter of Del Mar Futurity winner On Target, Sharp Miss was claimed by trainer Chuck Peery for $25,000 at Golden Gate on Feb. 26 and hardly seemed a bargain after finishing fifth at a mile in that race. She came back with a third against allowance company in another mile race at Golden Gate, however, and has since won a pair of six-furlong allowance races over this track, in 1:09.48 and 1:09.08. Sharp Miss appears to have found her best distance and favorite track, and she gets both on Saturday in the Emeryville.

Saratoga Handicap may go Sunday

Racing secretary Gregory Brent hopes to resurrect the Saratoga Handicap, which was originally scheduled for May 11 but failed to fill, on this Sunday's card.

"We only got four entries when we offered the race for last Sunday, but there is a chance we can pick up another horse or two," he said. "If so, we would love to use it."

Among those who are hoping the Saratoga fills is trainer Cliff Delima, who would like to use the race as a prep for his venerable El Dorado Shooter. El Dorado Shooter's main goal this spring is the Grade 3 Bay Meadows Breeders' Cup Sprint on June 7.