06/30/2005 12:00AM

Hystericalady difficult to deny


PLEASANTON, Calif. - Some horses make an indelible first impression that leaves fans impatient for their next start.

Hystericalady, the likely favorite in Saturday's $40,000-added Juan Gonzalez Memorial Stakes at the Alameda County Fair, fits that bill.

The filly was sensational in her debut, which came at Golden Gate Fields, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 79, the highest in a 2-year-old maiden race this year in northern California.

She broke perhaps a step slowly but was in contention all the way, sitting third early, easing into the lead at the top of the lane, and pulling away. The field included two runners who have since won and face her again Saturday.

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer has always been high on Hystericalady, a $125,000 purchase at last September's Keeneland yearling sale.

"We liked her pedigree and the way she looked," Hollendorfer said. "At $125,000, we thought she was a buy. We were prepared to go higher."

Hollendorfer was not surprised that she won at first asking.

"She was showing a lot in the morning," he said.

And he liked the way Hystericalady won her debut.

"I think if you ask any trainer, they would like the fact that she sat back early and finished so well," he said. "But she didn't have a chance to make the lead that day."

That's because Hystericalady had to contend with Cool Valley Brew, who ran a 21.53-second opening quarter in tandem with Devons Smoking.

A full field of 12 fillies signed up for northern California's first 2-year-old stakes for fillies, but any way you break down the race, Hystericalady looks like a winner.

could be the main threat, having won a Hollywood Park maiden race in impressive style before adding blinkers and fading badly in the Cinderella Stakes at Hollywood. The blinkers were a one-race experiment.

was favored in her winning debut at Golden Gate, beating Country Vision almost as easily as Hystericalady did, and has worked nicely since. But Smart Kitten was all out to defeat a runner who broke loose during the post parade.

Country Vision turned in a solid effort in winning her maiden for a $40,000 tag at Hollywood, and Canyoutopthis dropped into a $32,000 maiden claimer to win her second start at Golden Gate after losing to Hystericalady in her debut.