11/26/2003 12:00AM

Cousineau makes wait worthwhile


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Considering her pedigree and the fact she breezed on the turf instead of the dirt during Keeneland's sale of 2-year-olds in training in April, there was little doubt Cousineau's future was as a turf horse. But instead of being bought by European connections, Cousineau was purchased by trainer Craig Dollase and owner Paul Reddam, who decided to keep her in the United States, where the emphasis for 2-year-olds is on dirt racing.

There was to be no Debutante, let alone the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, in Cousineau's plans. No, Dollase decided to wait with Cousineau until the fall, when grass racing for 2-year-olds slowly creeps its way onto the menu. Cousineau won her debut on the turf at Santa Anita on Nov. 6, and Friday at Hollywood Park she will compete in the biggest grass race of the year for West Coast-based fillies, the $100,000 Miesque Stakes.

The Miesque, a Grade 3 race, goes as the fifth on a 10-race card. It attracted 11 runners, including three who are recent arrivals from Europe. It is a wide-open race, with at least half the runners appearing to have a legitimate shot.

Cousineau, who is by Stravinsky and is out of an Alleged mare, rallied sharply to win a downhill turf sprint at Santa Anita. She now stretches out around two turns to a mile.

"She was impressive down the hill, and she's trained good since then," Dollase said Wednesday. "We wanted to run her on the turf. She had the fastest work on the turf at Keeneland. She moves real nice over the turf. She trains okay on the dirt, but she's much better on turf."

Mike Smith rode Cousineau in her debut, but he committed to Mambo Slew for the Miesque, so Kent Desormeaux takes over.

Mambo Slew beat maidens going a mile on turf at Santa Anita on Oct. 18. She showed little in a dirt sprint at Saratoga in August, but, like Cousineau, figured to run better on grass, considering her pedigree. She is by Kingmambo.

Winendynme is another filly whose turf races are far superior to her main-track runs. She has won both of her grass races, but has been well beaten in both main-track races. Both of her victories have been in sprints, but her pedigree (by Dynaformer out of a Caerleon mare) suggests two turns will pose no problem.

The front-running Very Vegas won the Bay Meadows Lassie in her last start and is seeking her fourth straight victory.

Amorama won twice in five starts in France. She is trained by Maurice Zilber, but moves to Julio Canani after the race.