04/04/2003 12:00AM

Heavenly Jet takes leap into stakes ranks


GROVE CITY, Ohio - Heavenly Jet will try to go from a maiden to a stakes winner in less than one month when she faces eight other Ohio-bred 3-year-old fillies in Sunday's $40,000 Royal North Stakes at Beulah Park.

Heavenly Jet finished second in her career debut July 4 at River Downs, after which she didn't race for more than eight months. She returned here March 8 and scored a 14 1/2-length victory versus maiden special weight company for trainer Albert Palacios. A daughter of Lord Avie, Heavenly Jet then skipped a condition and faced older rivals in a nonwinners of three lifetime allowance race March 23 and rallied to score a three-length victory for her owner-breeder, Paul Gutheil.

Ivan Gonzalez, who rode Heavenly Jet in both of her wins, has a return call. She gets in at 115 pounds under the allowance conditions of the six-furlong Royal North.

Ifufeelfroggyleap has the best qualifications to capture Sunday's race, having won three straight stakes races last year. The streak started in the Tah Dah at River Downs in August. She then beat males in the Loyalty at Thistledown before capturing the six-furlong Emerald Necklace by 4 1/2 lengths in September.

In her final start of the year, Ifufeelfroggyleap set the pace before faltering to finish ninth in the 1 1/16-mile Best of Ohio Juvenile Fillies. It was her only career start around two turns. Ifufeelfroggyleap, trained by Tim Hamm, has won 4 of 7 starts and earned $77,400.

Ifufeelfroggyleap has been in training for the past several months and shows a steady series of workouts in preparation for her first start of 2003. Julio Felix, rider for all three of her stakes wins, has the call on Ifufeelfroggyleap, who will carry top weight of 120 pounds.

Orangeberry is trainer Palacios's other entrant in the Royal North, and she also merits respect in her first start of the year. Orangeberry had a record of 2-1-1 from six starts last year and finished her season with a fifth-place finish in the Best of Ohio Juvenile Fillies. Perry Ouzts will ride Orangeberry for the first time Sunday. Heavenly Jet and Orangeberry will start as separate wagering interests due to different ownership.