Updated on 09/16/2011 7:26AM

Hilling confident in his filly


SAN MATEO, Calif. - The common perception may be that A B Noodle is strictly the one to beat in the $55,000-added Bay Meadows Oaks for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles over the Longden Turf Course at Bay Meadows on Sunday.

That's fine with Jim Hilling, the trainer of Doc's Lil' Angel. Hilling likes to lie in the proverbial weeds and spring surprises.

Hilling has plenty of respect for A B Noodle, but he thinks highly of his filly as well.

Doc's Lil' Angel won a bizarre April 11 maiden turf race at Bay Meadows when two fillies fell on the first turn, and A B Noodle's rider, Jason Lumpkins, pulled up after holding an eight-length lead in the stretch.

A B Noodle returned to make short work of a maiden field in her next start, but Doc's Lil' Angel also won her next start, beating older horses.

Hilling doesn't deny that he may have gotten a gift in the April 11 race, but he believes the victory was more legitimate than others do.

On the first turn, where the two-horse spill occurred, "Doc was last, right on the rail," Hilling said. Jockey Ron Warren Jr. "pulled her up and weaved his way through."

Watching tape of the race, Hilling said he noted that Lumpkins, on A B Noodle, "didn't really drop anchor until we were past him."

The two fillies also met in their debut, a six-furlong race on the dirt that is not the best surface or distance for either.

Hilling said he told jockey Jose Arriaga, "This is a grass filly. I told him don't send her and don't hit her. We were last coming off the turn, but we ran by A B Noodle in the stretch." Doc's Lil' Angel finished second, with A B Noodle third.

Hilling does not discount highweight Lost at Sea or even second highweight Ayzal in Sunday's race, but he's keeping an eye on A B Noodle.

"There are many ways of looking at it," he said of the contrasting running styles of A B. Noodle, a front-runner, and Doc's Lil' Angel, a closer. "Certain days," he said, "A B Noodle will win because of her style. Certain days, Doc will win because of her style.

"A B Noodle, if there's no real speed against her, is impossible to beat."

The presence of Yourfinalanswer in the race should assure an honest, if not fast, pace, which pleases Hilling.

He also likes the 1 1/16-mile distance, although he said, "I need longer. I think her forte will be over a mile and an eighth."

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