07/02/2006 12:00AM

Eleanor Rose must ration speed


Eleanor Rose's greatest strength is also her greatest weakness.

The 5-year-old mare, who meets six rivals - three running as an entry - in Tuesday's $50,000 Alameda County Fillies and Mares Handicap, likes to run fast early.

That's not necessarily a bad thing, particularly here at Pleasanton where speed always seems to play well. But her insistence on going early sometimes means she doesn't save enough to outfinish rivals late.

"Her style is more suitable to the dirt," said trainer Steve Miyadi, who has had to run her on turf of late because there have been no other spots available. "The problem is she can't rate on turf, and you're better running late on turf."

While she likes to run fast early, Eleanor Rose doesn't have to be on the lead. She simply has to run freely in the opening stages.

She's plenty talented, as she showed when she beat Somethinaboutlaura by six lengths in the $100,000 Work the Crowd Handicap at Golden Gate Fields on April 1.

But Eleanor Rose will have her work cut out for her Tuesday in the 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares.

Wellingtons Arch and Marla Bay both have speed. In fact, Marla Bay set the pace when Eleanor Rose was a strong second to Strong Faith in the Muir Woods at Golden Gate Fields. Marla Bay ended up third.

The biggest challenge, though, may come from the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained threesome of Sky Dreams, Eclipse Winner, and defending champ Secret Corsage. The three-horse entry will likely go off favored and may invite a bridge-jumper into the show pool.

Sky Dreams has defeated Eleanor Rose in their two meetings. She usually sits back a bit, although she has the speed to press the pace.

Eclipse Winner has split four decisions with Eleanor Rose. The two have combined for three exacta finishes and were second and third in their other meeting. Eclipse Winner will sit off the pace.

Secret Corsage, freshened since a pair of subpar efforts, won the Bay Meadows Cotillion wire to wire but is better sitting close to the lead, which is the type of trip she should get here.

Danamorada rounds out the field and brings a two-race winning streak into the race. Placed in graded races in her native Brazil, she will make her U.S. stakes debut.