03/30/2006 12:00AM

Favorite Well Hidden appears vulnerable


Well Hidden is unbeaten in three starts, but it's going to take some hard work if she's to make it 4 for 4 on Saturday in the $250,000 Sunland Park Oaks. The Oaks, at 1 1/16 miles for 3-year-old fillies, goes as the sixth race on a 12-race card, which includes three other stakes, led by the $600,000 WinStar Derby.

Well Hidden's assets are not hidden at all. A daughter of More Than Ready, she debuted routing at Sam Houston Jan. 6 and led wire to wire. She then stalked the pace in an allowance race there Feb. 3, found a seam, and bowled through on her way to a one-length victory. In her last start, the Island Fashion at Sunland March 11, Well Hidden had to overcome a lot. She wasn't away all that well and got boxed in coming into the lane, but managed to find room and edge her way through for the victory. That doggedness - and not to mention her perfect record - make her the horse to beat under Shaun Bridgmohan.

Well Hidden's Beyer Speed Figures (61, 65, 61), however, make her appear vulnerable in the field of six. Visual Effect and Legally Wild, the two-three finishers behind Well Hidden in the Island Fashion, are back for more. Visual Effect was making her first start in a route in the Island Fashion and had to deal with the outside post. Visual Effect rallied strongly and lost by a half-length. She's stuck outside again, in post 6. Ken Tohill rides Visual Effect for leading trainer Henry Dominguez.

Legally Wild dueled every step of the way in the Island Fashion and went down by just a length. That speed and her rail draw may mean she will be sent by jockey Mike Ziegler.

Another hurdle for Well Hidden is the Southern California invader Sweet Fourty, trained by Jeff Mullins. She hasn't run since Nov. 27, when she was second behind Balance in the Sharp Cat at Hollywood Park. Balance might be the country's top 3-year-old filly, and Sweet Fourty finished less than two lengths behind her and 6 1/2 lengths in front of the third-place finisher. Victor Espinoza has the mount.