04/02/2009 11:00PM

High Resolve will gun it in stakes


ARCADIA, Calif. - High Resolve will race to the front Sunday, like always. The only thing her rivals in the Grade 3 Las Flores Handicap can do is hope 6 1/2 furlongs at Santa Anita is slightly out of reach for the gray speedster.

"We're not going to change anything," trainer Greg Gilchrist said.

No reason to. High Resolve has won 7 races and $426,070 from 10 starts by using her gas. When the gates open, jockey Russell Baze will send High Resolve to the lead.

Seven fillies and mares entered the $100,000 Las Flores, including upset candidate Starry Pursuit, closers Sweet August Moon and Foxy Danseur, comeback stakes winner Ashley's Kitty, and longshot entrants Coco Belle and Petite Cherie.

Although two of High Resolve's three losses were on Pro-Ride, Gilchrist does not consider surface an issue.

"I thought those were two of her better races, to be honest," he said.

The evidence backs him up.

High Resolve tried Pro-Ride for the first time Oct. 26. She pressed fast fractions and finished second while her pace rivals finished last and next-to-last. High Resolve tried Pro-Ride again Dec. 31 and she ran Grade 1 winner Dearest Trickski into the ground before tiring to second again.

It was the hot pace, and not surface, that got High Resolve beat both times. Sunday, she faces no such heat. High Resolve could be loose on the front, and if she can stay 6 1/2, the likely favorite might be gone.

But the Las Flores is not as easy at it might appear because Starry Pursuit is poised to upset second start back. Jerry Hollendorfer trains Starry Pursuit, a five-time winner from seven starts whose eighth-place comeback only disguises her form.

"She was down inside, and I don't think she liked it," assistant trainer Dan Ward said.

Starry Pursuit broke from the rail, was always in an uncomfortable spot pressing the pace inside, and backed up at the quarter pole.

Since then, she has trained super, and from the outside post should fall into a great trip sitting alone in second. Joe Talamo rides Starry Pursuit.

Sweet August Moon has changed running styles this year and will try for her third consecutive deep-closing upset. Coco Belle seems to have lost her speed. Grade 3 winner Ashley's Kitty is racing for the first time since June.