12/03/2009 12:00AM

Heavenly Lass has apparent edge


STICKNEY, Ill. - Illinois-bred 2-year-old fillies trying 1 1/16 miles on Saturday in the $100,000 Pat Whitworth Illinois Debutante are venturing into uncharted waters. And because of that, handicappers are cast somewhat adrift trying to make sense of the Whitworth.

The 10 fillies entered in the race have combined to start 42 times so far, but 40 of those starts have come in one-turn sprints. Only Heavenly Lass and Inscript have made a start around two turns, and since Heavenly Lass appeared to like it, perhaps she is the one to watch in the Whitworth.

Trained by Rusty Hellman for the Asiel Stable of Richard Radke (who has long employed Richard Hazelton as its primary trainer), Heavenly Lass showed she could run with a five-length debut triumph over Illinois-bred sprinters Oct. 30 at Hawthorne. Hellman ran her long second time out in an open entry-level allowance race, and Heavenly Lass did fine, rallying from the back of a short field to take the lead at the stretch call before giving way in the final furlong, and finishing a clear second. Heavenly Lass could stay on better in her second route try, and if she does, may prove tough to beat in the Whitworth.

Sweet Lemon Chello had good Arlington Polytrack form, but showed little when she was a wide sixth in the Showtime Deb on Oct. 31 at Hawthorne, her dirt debut. She did turn in a bullet five-furlong drill Nov. 28 at the Churchill Downs training center, and could be given one more chance.

Our Girl Magic is by middle-distance sire Belong to Me, and beat maiden sprinters for trainer Moises Yanez in her most recent start, but post 10 does her no favors. And always-dangerous trainer Wayne Catalano sends out Cupid's Best, a distant fourth in the Showtime Deb.

Catalano hits and runs

Catalano showed up at Hawthorne last Saturday, and though he was here only for a brief stay, he put a saddle on 2-year-old first-time-starter Hart of a Cowboy, who then went out and impressively won an Illinois-bred dirt sprint. Catalano not only trains Hart of a Cowboy, he bred and owns the horse with his wife, Renee. And though Hart of a Cowboy won going short, he is bred to route, and is likely to make his next start in the Jim Edgar Futurity here next week, Catalano said.

Catalano will keep a handful of horses at Hawthorne through December, but he, himself, is headed for Florida. Catalano has regularly been wintering in Florida, but this year, he will split his stable between Gulfstream Park, his regular base, and Tampa Bay Downs, where Catalano will open a string this year. Catalano said he has 20 stalls at Tampa, and 26 more at Gulfstream Park.

She Be Wild, a contender for champion 2-year-old filly, will be housed, of course, with the Gulfstream string. While Catalano elected to pass the Delta Princess with She Be Wild, the filly still is jogging and galloping, and she has been shipped from Churchill Downs to her winter home.