12/10/2002 12:00AM

Composure has pedigree to improve


LAS VEGAS - This time of year, Hollywood Park takes center stage with the Hollywood Futurity and Hollywood Starlet Stakes. Both are stakes races for late-developing juveniles and both will be run at 1 1/16 miles. The two stakes races have played key roles in the development of future stars.

Siphonic, who died earlier this year, gained many admirers after his Hollywood Futurity victory last year, and Point Given defeated Millenium Wind in 2000. Since its inception in 1981, the Hollywood Futurity has attracted classy fields. Stalwart defeated Cassaleria in 1981 and Roving Boy defeated Desert Wine in 1982.

Other notable winners include Stephan's Odyssey (1984), Snow Chief (over Electric Blue and Ferdinand in 1985), Temperate Sil (over Alysheba and Masterful Advocate in 1986), Tejano (1987), King Glorious (1988), Grand Canyon (over Farma Way and Silver Ending in 1989), Best Pal (over General Meeting in 1990), A.P. Indy (1991), River Special (1992), Valiant Nature (over Brocco in 1993), Afternoon Deelites (over Thunder Gulch in 1994), Matty G (1995), Swiss Yodeler (1996), Real Quiet (over Artax in 1997), Tactical Cat (1998), and Captain Steve (over High Yield in 1999).

The Hollywood Futurity will be run on Dec. 21 and is expected to pit the Western-based Kafwain against Toccet, the Eastern-based iron horse. Also possible are Ghostzapper, an impressive recent maiden winner, and Roll Hennessy Roll.

First, however, is the Hollywood Starlet, the featured race on Saturday.

Also first run in 1981, past winners of the Hollywood Starlet include Althea (1983 juvenile filly champion), Outstandingly (1984 juvenile filly champion), Very Subtle (1986), Goodbye Halo (1987), Cuddles (1990), Magical Maiden (1991), Sardula (1993), Serena's Song (1994), Cara Rafaela (1995), Sharp Cat (1996), Excellent Meeting (1998), Surfside (1999), and Habibti (2001), who defeated You in a thriller.

Spotlight on Composure

Without question, the main attraction in this year's Hollywood Starlet is Composure. Composure won the Oak Leaf Stakes before finishing a game second to Storm Flag Flying, the superstar who remained undefeated in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. Seemingly on her way to victory after passing Storm Flag Flying in the stretch, she was run down by a relentless Storm Flag Flying but was nearly 10 lengths clear of Santa Catarina, who finished third.

From the first crop of sire Touch Gold, who thwarted Silver Charm's Triple Crown bid in the 1997 Belmont Stakes, Composure is bred to be better at 3 as she matures and stretches out in distance. Her dam's sire is Alleged, two-time Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner, a renowned source of stamina. Her dam, Party Cited (Alleged out of a Blushing Groom mare), was a stakes winner on grass, winning the Yerba Buena and placing in the Santa Ana and Beverly Hills Handicaps.

Based on her performances this year and the expectation that she has even more room for improvement, Composure is a standout in what should be a small, but select field. But her late-blooming rivals have shown high promise and have plenty of pedigree power.

Watching You is a late-developing filly from the first crop of sire Coronado's Quest, whose juveniles started winning races in bunches in the fall. Watching You finished a good second to the more experienced Puxa Saco in the Moccasin Stakes, defeating Atlantic Ocean by 5 1/2 lengths. Atlantic Ocean came back to win the Miesque Stakes on grass.

In addition to the class of her sire, her female family is also very powerful. Her dam, Dodie Mae (Capote), is a half-sister to freshman sire Grand Slam, as well as stakes winner Leestown and stakes-placed Gold Market. Her fourth dam, Sugar Plum Time, is a stakes-winning full sister to Yule Log, the dam of champion older mare, Christmas Past. Sugar Plum Time is also a half-sister to Sweet Tooth, the dam of Alydar. Talk about potential.

Rmisvesta is from the second crop of champion 2-year-old Boston Harbor out of the Secretariat mare Fire Alarm. Her second dam, Icy Jennifer (Icecapade), is a full sister to the very fast sprinter Don Rickles. This female line produced Politely, one of the best female runners of the 1960's.

Tizalovelylady has every right to be a runner. She is by Western Fame, an unheralded first-crop stallion who is off to a good start at stud. Western Fame is one of many freshman sires by speed influence Gone West, which include Elusive Quality, Grand Slam, and Double Honor. Her dam, Tizso, is a full sister to Horse of the Year Tiznow and Breeders' Cup Classic runner-up Budroyale.

Along with Composure, Summer Wind Dancer has the most experience in the field. Winner of the California Cup Juvenile Fillies at the Starlet distance, Summer Wind Dancer is by Charles H. Strub Stakes winner Siberian Summer and descends from stakes winners Trillionaire (Vaguely Noble) and Amerigo's Fancy (Amerigo). She has a good balance of speed and stamina in her pedigree.

But after her thrilling Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies performance, all eyes will be on Composure, whose future is limitless.