07/30/2005 12:00AM

Fortunate Event to get tested


DEL MAR, Calif. - has grown up nicely since she was acquired last fall by Dan Agnew and trainer Jerry Fanning.

In June at Hollywood Park, Fortunate Event won two races on turf - a maiden race and an allowance race against California-breds. On Monday at Del Mar Fortunate Event will attempt to stretch her winning streak to three in a $60,000 optional claimer over 1 1/16 miles on turf for 3-year-old fillies.

"I think the grass has moved her up," Fanning said. "She's finally matured a little bit. She was fairly small and she's grown up."

There are two allowance races for 3-year-old fillies on Monday's eight-race program. Either race could produce starters for the $300,000 Del Mar Oaks on Aug. 20.

In the third race, a $65,000 allowance race over a mile on turf, Private Banking seeks her first win in the U.S. since arriving from France last winter. Private Banking was a troubled sixth in the Flawlessly Stakes at Hollywood Park on July 4.

Fortunate Event was bought privately by Agnew last fall. At the time, she was a maiden, who had finished second in the Cinderella Stakes in June 2004.

Fanning admits it took him a little while to be convinced that Fortunate Event was a good acquisition.

"He liked her better than I did," Fanning said. "The biggest gamble was how much she was going to grow."

Fortunate Event lost her first five starts for Agnew before beating maidens by two lengths on June 3. She returned to win by a neck on June 24. Both of those races were at a mile on turf.

Fortunate Event will be tested in Monday's seventh race. The field of 12 has a safety limit of 10 and features two fillies that started in the $750,000 American Oaks at Hollywood Park on July 3 - third-place finisher Singhalese and Isla Cozzene, who was ninth.

is winless in three starts in this country. In the American Oaks, she rallied from fifth to finish 5 1/2 lengths behind the winning Cesario.

Isla Cozzene finished third in the Honeymoon Breeders' Cup Handicap on June 5 and was 12 lengths behind Cesario in the American Oaks. She had trouble on the final turn before fading.

To defeat that pair, Fortunate Event must show some improvement. Fanning is hoping to use the race as a springboard to longer races, where he expects Fortunate Event to be more effective.

"I think she'll be a pretty good filly," he said.