09/24/2003 11:00PM

Everyday Angel: Ready to fly?


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Everyday Angel, one of the more impressive 2-year-old filly winners at the Saratoga meet, moves from maiden to stakes racing Saturday on closing day at Arlington. And she will be favored to do so successfully.

Ten others were entered in the Grade 3, $100,000 Arlington-Washington Lassie, a dirt race at one mile around one turn. But in terms of pure ability, none is likely to match up with Everyday Angel, who dueled on the lead and missed by a nose in her career debut at Churchill, then came back with a 12 1/2-length win Aug. 11 at Saratoga.

"She's a very, very talented filly," said Pat Byrne, who trains Everyday Angel for Richard Nip.

Byrne excels with 2-year-olds, and in 1997 he won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile with Favorite Trick and the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies with Countess Diana. Shane Sellers rode Countess Diana, and he will be at Arlington on Saturday to ride Everyday Angel. On talent and potential, both Sellers and Byrne feel Everyday Angel matches up with Countess Diana.

"Shane actually thinks this filly has more gears," Byrne said.

But talent alone does not win races, and skeptics may take a stand against Everyday Angel on Saturday. Byrne believes that his filly is by no means a one-dimensional sprinter, but she will be running more than a quarter-mile farther than in her last start. And Byrne conceded she will be doing so at less than 100 percent readiness. Byrne had hoped to run Everyday Angel last weekend in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile, but an upper-respiratory infection cost her several days of training and forced her out of the race.

"She's probably going to need this race," Byrne said. "It'd be unfair for me to say we're coming in at 100 percent, but she's probably 90 percent, and we're hoping that's enough."

Zosima, ridden by Pat Day, is the likely second choice, and she is a solid filly coming up to the Lassie in top form, according to Dave Duggan, assistant to trainer Eoin Harty. Zosima has two wins to Everyday Angel's one, and she sports a favorable distance progression: from five furlongs, to 5 1/2, to six, and now a mile.

Anapest will have her supporters, having won a one-mile maiden race here Aug. 27 by more than 10 lengths while never asked for her best. But for a blowout victory, the performance wasn't especially impressive, and Anapest may find it difficult to match the brilliance of Everyday Angel.