05/20/2001 11:00PM

Hawthorne: A handicapper's test


STICKNEY, Ill. - Welcome to the entry-level allowance, a point of convergence for horses on the way up and horses struggling to stay out of the claiming ranks. The confluence of various types of unproven stock can produce appealing betting situations - or baffle handicappers.

Monday's eighth race at Hawthorne is just such a heat, and because it is to be run on turf, it has drawn a large field of nine. For fillies and mares at about one mile, the race is the eighth race on Hawthorne's nine-race program.

A young horse with few starts who has demonstrated promising ability can lay over a race at this class level. There is no such animal in this field, only various degrees of strugglers. But there are strugglers of various sorts - former or future claimers, or in this race for females, fillies and mares with pedigrees too good to sell them in an appropriately priced claiming race.

Easabeau Fille falls into the latter category, but despite a layoff, a change in racing circuits and five failures at this class level, she is likely to be a heavy favorite.

And not without reason. By Capote out of a Deputy Minister mare, Easabeau Fille is headed for life as a broodmare no matter how far her racing career progresses. And though she is a 5-year-old yet to win her second start, the mare may still prove dominant facing horses of this caliber. Her entry-level allowance tries all came on the tough Southern California circuit.

Trainer Tom Amoss has put a series of strong works into Easabeau Fille, and by shipping to Hawthorne, gives her every chance to win a race.

Though she struggled in maiden special company last year, Cozzies Valay Girl rates an upset chance based on a sharp recent win in a maiden claimer and her pedigree. The filly is by Cozzene, a fine grass horse and a powerful turf influence as a stallion. Cozzies Valay Maid has never raced on turf before, and her trainer, Richie Scherer, has success with grass runners.