07/26/2005 11:00PM

Everybody wants the lead


DEL MAR, Calif. - The furious front-running style that Bella Banissa and Very Vegas each used to win her last start was good practice for Friday's $75,000 Daisycutter Handicap at Del Mar.

The Daisycutter is run over five furlongs on turf and the field of eight fillies and mares is full of front-runners.

Very Vegas led throughout the restricted Curious Clover Stakes over 5 1/2 furlongs at Hollywood Park on July 8. Two days later there, Bella Banissa won a first-condition allowance race over the same course and distance by two lengths, leading throughout in her turf course debut.

, 3, is one of the few non-stakes winners in the Daisycutter. She placed in two sprint stakes at Hollywood in 2004, but missed the winter because of an injury.

"She has been perfect," trainer David Hofmans said. "The rider that works her said she likes this turf course better."

Very Vegas ended a six-race losing streak in the Curious Clover dating back to the one-mile Queen of the Green Handicap at Turf Paradise last November.

Trainer Marcelo Polanco said the key in riding Very Vegas is to leave her alone.

"If you fight her, she doesn't like that," Polanco said. "You have to drop the reins."

The Daisycutter drew nine, but has a safety limit of eight starters because the temporary rails have been moved seven feet out from the innermost position.

Champ's Rocket, a closer, is on the also-eligible list, needing a scratch to draw into the field. If she starts, Champ's Rocket can be a factor.

Abounding Truth, Fun'ngames Toknite, Revolving Door, and Yerevan Star have won stakes on other circuits this year.

Fun'ngames Toknite has won 4 of 8 starts this year, including the Cactus Flower and To the Post stakes at Turf Paradise in the spring. In her Southern California debut, she finished third in the restricted Exotic Wood Stakes at Hollywood on June 3.

Four of the fillies are making their first start on turf - Abounding Truth, Platinum Princess, Revolving Door, and Yerevan Star.

Yerevan Star and Platinum Princess were first and third in the Camilla Urso Stakes over six furlongs at Golden Gate Fields. Both returned this month to finish second in different races - Platinum Princess in the Alameda County Fair Handicap at Pleasanton and Yerevan Star in the Vacaville Stakes at the Solano County Fair at Vallejo.