05/12/2005 11:00PM

Duncan fires trio of fillies in Nursery


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Most of the 2-year-old fillies in the $75,000 Nursery Stakes on Sunday at Hollywood Park enter with similar credentials. Six are stretching out from quarter-mile races, including three winners trained by Leonard Duncan that were ridden by Garrett Gomez.

Duncan let Gomez decide which filly to ride in the five-furlong Nursery. "Not to take anything away from the other two fillies, but he thinks Angelic Angie has more upside at a higher level," Duncan said.

The other two are For an Occasion and Nikki Nine, who is Angelic Angie's entrymate.

While Duncan's three horses have a chance Sunday, they face a stiff rival in , who in her debut finished second and earned an 81 Beyer Speed Figure.

Duncan's 2-year-olds will be heavily involved in the lower-level maiden ranks and early-season stakes this meet. He began the season with 70 California-bred juveniles and currently has 35 at the track and another 23 ready to come in, but, he said, "I don't have any place to put them. We plan to be active all summer and into fall."

This year Duncan has started 12 juveniles; his three winners entered the Nursery.

were sired by Nineeleven and bred by Terry Lovinger. Angelic Angie won her debut in 21.84 seconds, slightly slower than Nikki Nine's 21.62 clocking one race later, but the second- and third-place finishers behind Angelic Angie returned to win.

In the month since those races, Duncan has worked on calming down his fillies.

"We jack them up so hard to get them ready for those quarter-mile races," he said. "I've slowed their training, slowed their works down, and extended their gallops."

Duncan's three fillies each worked five furlongs May 5, but the works went unrecorded because they were so slow.

"They worked in the middle of the racetrack, by themselves, out in the four , five and six path, in about 1:06," he said. "It was a good two-minute lick for five-eighths of a mile to try to teach them to relax."

Sunday, they will need some speed to win the five-furlong Nursery. The median winning Beyer in the Nursery is 80, which Lil' Sister Swiss already exceeded in a 4 1/2-furlong race April 23. Sired by Swiss Yodeler, Lil' Sister Swiss drew the rail and enters as the favorite in the Nursery.

Also in the field are Storming Hun, Swiss Lady, Wildout, Slick Road, Acceleration, Walkonkaydeeavenue, and also-eligibles River's Prayer and Bandera Negra.