11/26/2008 12:00AM

Habaya eyes black type in Miesque


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - For a filly who has run just twice, Habaya has had quite the journey in her 33 months. Born in Kentucky at Sheikh Hamdan's Shadwell Farm, she was sent last winter to Dubai, where she was broken, then returned to the United States in May to begin her racing career. She has competed in New York and Kentucky, and on Friday, her peripatetic journey brings her to California, where she heads the field in the Grade 3, $100,000 Miesque Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at Hollywood Park.

The Miesque, at one mile on turf, drew a field of 12, including Emmy Darling, who finished fifth in the inaugural Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, and Internallyflawless, an impressive maiden winner at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting two months ago.

Habaya defeated maidens in her debut at Belmont Park on Sept. 25, then was second in the Jessamine Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 9 to Laragh, who subsequently finished third in the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf. Kiaran McLaughlin, who trains Habaya, elected to pass the Breeders' Cup.

"It was strictly a matter of time," McLaughlin said Wednesday morning from New York. "We had to run her back quick, just two weeks, at Keeneland. I couldn't bring her back less than three weeks later. I was going to take her to Calder, but they cancelled the stakes there. This race is a graded stakes, which, with her pedigree, should help her later in life."

Habaya stands out on pedigree. She is by Storm Cat and is out of the Eclipse Award-winning turf mare Golden Apples. In both her races, Habaya sat back and then finished well, though she encountered some traffic on the far turn in the Jessamine. Richard Migliore has ridden her in her two starts and is back aboard Friday.

"I thought she ran very well," McLaughlin said of the Jessamine. "The winner was impressive on the day; she got loose on the lead. Richie got in a little tight at the three-eighths and had to wait, then came on through."

Internallyflawless was entered in the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf, but when the race overfilled, she was placed on the also-eligible list and did not get in. Her trainer, Bob Baffert, thought she would have had a chance that day.

"I was disappointed she didn't get in there," Baffert said Wednesday morning. "She's trained well since then. This looks like a good spot for her."

Emmy Darling ran decently in the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf, which was her first try on grass.