07/16/2003 11:00PM

Hennie's Song has home field edge


Three fillies who have collectively won 14 of 15 lifetime starts will meet for the first time in Saturday's $500,000 Delaware Oaks at Delaware Park.

The Grade 3 Oaks at 1 1/16 miles pits Awesome Humor, a multiple graded stakes winner last season, against Sue's Good News and Hennie's Song, both of whom are undefeated.

Awesome Humor is the most accomplished runner in the field of 10 3-year-old fillies. Last year, she went 4 for 4, including three graded stakes victories. In her first start at 3, Awesome Humor failed to fire in an optional claiming sprint at Churchill. Trainer Elliott Walden dismissed the non-effort.

"Things really did not go well for her in that race," Walden said. "She got some dirt in her face and she got into a couple of things that she really was not used to. Those things threw her off her game a little bit and she lost her focus. It ended up that she just kind of ran around there."

Three weeks later, Awesome Humor performed much better, beating older optional claimers, including graded stakes winner Lakenheath, in a nine-furlong race at Arlington, earning a 93 Beyer Speed Figure.

Sue's Good News also prepped for the Oaks by beating older fillies and mares at Arlington. Sidelined for more than two months while recuperating from some minor ailments, Sue's Good News cruised to a 4 1/2-length win at a mile, worth an 84 Beyer, to run her record to 4 for 4. Trainer Steve Hobby called the race "perfect, just what I wanted."

Hennie's Song didn't begin racing until April. But since beating maiden claimers at Gulfstream Park in her debut, Hennie's Song has reeled off four wins at Delaware, including two in stakes races, while improving her Beyers from 76 to 91.

Trainer Steve Klesaris is hopeful that racing over her home track gives Hennie's Song an edge in the Oaks.

"I always think that is an advantage," Klesaris said. "She is familiar with the course and the stable area, whereas some of the others are not. The shippers will have to deal with a new track and environment."

Upset possibilities include Wildwood Royal, winner of four straight stakes races in the Midwest and whose 104 last-out Beyer is the best in the field; Cherokee Lite, who has won four in a row while moving through her allowance conditions in New York for trainer Nick Zito; and Ladyecho, second, beaten 2 1/4 lengths by Hennie's Song in the June 28 Susan's Girl.