09/17/2004 11:00PM

'Honey' can adapt to dirt


Honeypenny has made her name on the turf. All three of her career wins have come there, though her three dirt efforts weren't bad at all.

Trainer Julio Canani may well have found the spot for her dirt breakthrough in Tuesday's Bangles and Beads at Fairplex Park. The $60,000 stakes, a 6 1/2-furlong race for fillies and mares, lured a field of seven but based on class and current form Honeypenny looks primed, even if this isn't on her favorite footing.

A daughter of Breeders' Cup Mile winner Royal Academy, Honeypenny has won sprinting and routing on turf, so the distance isn't an issue. Neither is current form - she comes into this off a game win going five furlongs on the turf at Del Mar, a win that was flattered as the horse she beat back into third, Lady Sabrina, came right back to win.

Her dirt outings have been promising, particularly of late. She was fifth in the Grade 3 Hawthorne at Hollywood on June 6. Then, on July 16 she tried another dirt route, this against second-level allowance foes, and finished a decent third after chasing the pace. Not only is this trip probably more to her liking but this spot doesn't look as tough as those last two dirt attempts.

Mazella, trained by Jay Robbins, finished behind Honeypenny in a turf sprint at Del Mar on Aug. 7, and then faced tougher in the mile Torrey Pines at Del Mar. This is likely a better spot both in terms of distance and class level.

Minnie the Moocher was claimed from a win against $50,000 claimers at Del Mar by trainer Danny Velasquez and shows up first time for him in a stakes.

Madrina was no match for the promising Two Trail Sioux in an allowance route at Del Mar but now returns to a better trip and signaled her readiness with a big half-mile bullet work in 47.40 seconds here on Wednesday.

A potential spoiler could be Alices Silver Lady. She has been in fine form all year and comes into this after about two months off. While most of her recent action has come on turf she did win her maiden on dirt and was a fine third over this track a year ago in a tough allowance spot.