09/12/2003 11:00PM

Formal Miss wins on Cruz control

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MIAMI - Formal Miss confirmed her status as the leading 3-year-old turf filly on the grounds with a convincing 3 3/4-length victory over arch-rival Dakota Light and 10 other rivals in Saturday's $75,000 Judy's Red Shoes Stakes at Calder.

Formal Miss, who narrowly defeated Dakota Light in the Lenta Stakes in her only other turf start during the current meet, received a perfectly judged ride by jockey Manoel Cruz in the 1 1/16-mile Judy's Red Shoes. Allowed to settle several lengths off the early pace contested by Dakota Light and King's Fancy, Formal Miss eased outside to launch her bid in early stretch and then readily drew off through the final furlong. Dakota Light held on to outlast Miss Tassy by 1 1/2 lengths for second.

Formal Miss covered the distance in 1:45.36 over a good course and paid $6.80 as the slight favorite. She is trained by Paul Maxwell for the Elite Racing Stable and Nuphri Fornaro et al.

"He rode her perfect," Maxwell of Cruz. "She wants to stalk horses, and he was able to get her to relax early after she came out running."

Maxwell said Formal Miss will make her next start in the Convenience Stakes here on Oct. 11.