05/09/2007 11:00PM

Honnete steps up in class


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Invitations are required for the marquee race of the Hollywood Park spring-summer meet on July 7. Two months out, horsemen already are planning for the Grade 1, $750,000 American Oaks.

"That would be nice, but we need to earn an invitation," trainer Neil Drysdale said. The message is clear. Drysdale-trained Honnete will not be considered for the American Oaks until after the Grade 3 Senorita Stakes for 3-year-old turf fillies Saturday at Hollywood.

Twelve entered the one-mile Senorita (race 7), including stakes winners Super Freaky, Passified, and Valbenny. Despite her inexperience - Honnete made her debut Feb. 18 - dramatic come-from-behind wins in both starts (one via disqualification) stamp her as the one to beat in a race she must win to gain an Oaks invitation.

"She had always shown promise, but was a little on the small side," Drysdale explained. "We just waited for her to grow up."

Honnete won her debut despite traffic trouble, and had more bad luck in a March 28 allowance. Blocked into the lane, she steadied in deep stretch, surged, and missed by a nose. Le Cirque was disqualified; Honnete inherited the win.

Honnete, sired by Elusive Quality and a half-sister to Grade 2 dirt winner Wooden Phone, is racing Saturday for the first time at Hollywood.

"I don't think surface will matter," Drysdale said.

The main hurdle for Honnete is tougher competition. Valbenny won her first two U.S. starts, including the Grade 3 Miesque at Hollywood last fall. Off three months, she returned April 7 as the favorite in the Grade 3 Providencia and ran sixth after a slow start and wide trip. Valbenny, 3 for 6, should move forward her second start back for trainer Paddy Gallagher.

Passified won the China Doll Stakes in March and finished second in the Providencia from post 11.

"The post hurt; we got carried out," trainer Jim Cassidy said.

This could be Passified's best opportunity to win a stakes for a while. She is by Compton Place, and probably wants no farther than a mile. The Grade 2 Honeymoon for 3-year-old grass fillies June 9 is nine furlongs.

Super Freaky has won her last two, and is 3 for 5 overall on grass. Trained by Doug O'Neill, she has improved since a close fourth in the Miesque. Super Freaky is likely to be positioned behind the front-runners Seaside Affair and Forest Huntress.

Big Bertha and My Little Margie, trained in France by Jean-Claude Rouget, arrived Tuesday and were to clear quarantine Thursday. Big Bertha will stay in the United States with Julio Canani; My Little Margie goes to Ron McAnally.