Updated on 09/17/2011 10:03AM

Elloluv takes on Composure again

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Composure (left) wears down Elloluv in the Grade 1 Las Virgenes on Feb. 9 at Santa Anita.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Get used to memorable performances when Composure and Elloluv meet in major stakes.

When they first met in the Hollywood Starlet Stakes in December, Elloluv led throughout at 30-1 and upset Composure, who was coming off a second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies.

In the rematch in the Grade 1 Las Virgenes Stakes on Feb. 9, Elloluv took her customary lead only to be caught late by Composure after an exciting stretch run.

Those races provide a backdrop for their third meeting in Saturday's $300,000 Santa Anita Oaks, the championship of the Santa Anita meeting for 3-year-old fillies.

The Santa Anita Oaks is one of two important stakes on Saturday for the nation's 3-year-old filly division. At Fair Grounds in New Orleans, Atlantic Ocean, Belle of Perintown, and Lady Tak lead the $350,000 Fair Grounds Oaks. Both races are considered important preps for the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on May 3.

Composure and Elloluv dominate a five-filly field in the Santa Anita Oaks that includes the longshots Go for Glamour, Harbor Blues and Long Term Wish. The connections of those three fillies, realistically, are hoping for a placing that will enhance the value of their starters.

Composure will be favored in the Santa Anita Oaks. She was favored in the Las Virgenes Stakes when she rallied from fifth on the backstretch to catch Elloluv and win by a neck.

The two fillies are expected to follow a similar strategy in the Santa Anita Oaks. Elloluv, who will be ridden by Patrick Valenzuela, is expected to lead, while Composure, ridden by Jerry Bailey, will be a stalker. Harbor Blues may challenge for the lead, while Go for Glamour and Long Term Wish are best from off the pace.

Both Composure and Elloluv are proven at the Oaks distance of 1 1/16 miles. Elloluv won the Starlet over that trip, while Composure won the Oak Leaf Stakes as a 2-year-old over 1 1/16 miles.

Composure's loss in the Starlet still bothers trainer Bob Baffert.

"We gave Elloluv a head start and you can't do that," Baffert said. "She was gone."

Composure is attempting to win two consecutive stakes for the first time in her career. She followed the Oak Leaf Stakes with a half-length loss to Storm Flag Flying in the Juvenile Fillies at Arlington Park. Baffert does not think that a hard race in the Las Virgenes has left Composure vulnerable to a loss in the Oaks.

"I wish it was a mile and an eighth," Baffert said. "She's training awesome and she's not going to regress."

Elloluv has been remarkably consistent since winning a maiden race at Hollywood Park on Nov. 10 in her second start. Between the Starlet and the Las Virgenes, she won the Grade 2 Santa Ynez Stakes over seven furlongs on Jan. 20.

"She hasn't missed a beat," trainer Craig Dollase said.

Dollase said Elloluv does not need the lead, but admits she is tough to beat when she is in front.

"She can rate, but the way the races have come up she lands up there," he said. "I'm assuming we'll be out there doing our thing. I don't want to give away tactics, but it's obvious. We'll see how she breaks, but we'll probably be on the lead.

"Pat [Valenzuela] came over and worked her the other day and gave me the thumbs up. Composure kind of wore us down last time."

The other three fillies are coming off victories. Harbor Blues won the Arizona Oaks at Turf Paradise, Long Term Wish pulled an upset in the Boo la Boo Stakes for California-breds, and Go for Glamour won an allowance race over a mile on Feb. 12.

The Santa Anita Oaks will be Go for Glamour's stakes debut, and a difficult assignment, trainer Beau Greely admits.

"This is a filly I've always liked," Greely said. "She's never run a bad race and looks like she's improving all the time. If one of them don't run their races, we could be right there. It's a good spot to try."

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