06/27/2001 11:00PM

Far removed from her past


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Lazy Slusan has done everything this year to erase the stigma of being an ex-claimer.

Bought out of a turf race last July at Del Mar for $62,500, Lazy Slusan is having a stellar campaign this year, having won 4 of 6 starts and $562,980. Her achievements place her among the nation's top older fillies and mares approaching Saturday's $250,000 Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park, a race won last year by Riboletta, the division champion.

Owned and trained by John Dolan, Lazy Slusan is using the Vanity as a stepping-stone to the Distaff at the World Thoroughbred Championships in New York in October. "A lot of people have told me I'd be the favorite if it was run right now," Dolan said.

Lazy Slusan will be heavily favored to win her third Grade 1 of the year in the Vanity, which is run over 1 1/8 miles and has drawn only five fillies and mares.

She won over that distance in the Santa Margarita Handicap at Santa Anita in March.

Since then, Lazy Slusan was third in the Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park, won the B. Thoughtful Stakes for California-breds on April 28, and scored an impressive win in the Grade 1 Milady Breeders' Cup Handicap here on June 3.

"I know Lazy Slusan will show up," Dolan said. "The only thing that could get her beat is Feverish getting loose on the lead. That's all I can figure."

Lazy Slusan is one of three experienced California-bred mares who figure to dominate the Vanity. Feverish, seeking her first Grade 1 win, will set the pace, hoping to improve on her third in the Milady. Trainer Dan Hendricks is worried that the distance works against the 6-year-old Feverish, who is making her 38th start.

"It takes her out of her style a little bit," he said. "I'm realistic. If I'm third or better in a Grade 1, I can't complain."

Gourmet Girl is making her first start since winning the Apple Blossom at 10-1. A 6-year-old, Gourmet Girl is making her 32nd start and figures to be close to Feverish.

Seterah and Letter of Intent, who were first and fourth, respectively, in the restricted Convenience Stakes on June 8, complete the field. Their connections are hoping for a Grade 1 placing to enhance the values of their 4-year-old fillies.

Realistically, it is hard to see them challenging Lazy Slusan, a veteran of 44 races who will be a short price to add to her remarkable turnaround.

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