03/18/2005 12:00AM

Isabell's Shoes a filly on rise in Honeybee

Jeff Coady/Coady Photography
Isabell's Shoes, moving into stakes competition off her maiden victory, wins the Martha Washington last month.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Isabell's Shoes has developed rapidly over the course of the Oaklawn meet, and on Sunday she will shoot for her third straight victory, and second in a stakes, in the $75,000 Honeybee.

The 1 1/16-mile Honeybee, for 3-year-old fillies, is a prep for the Grade 2, $250,000 Fantasy, and it drew six, including the promising Southern and Round Pond.

won her maiden in a one-mile race at Oaklawn on Jan. 28, and her powerful 4 1/4-length victory convinced her connections to move her into stakes company one start later. She responded with a 1 1/4-length victory in the $50,000 Martha Washington at one mile in her last start on Feb. 21.

"We felt confident in the way she ran that she deserved to step up," said Jinks Fires, who trains Isabell's Shoes for Patricia Blass.

Isabell's Shoes has used front-running tactics to win both of her Oaklawn races, but she might find a different pace scenario Saturday, as three of her rivals will be stretching out from six-furlong races for the Honeybee.

"I think she can adjust to whatever comes up," said Fires.

Isabell's Shoes stalked the pace early and dueled through the stretch to miss by a half-length in a maiden special weight race at 1 1/16 miles on turf at Churchill Downs on Nov. 7.

"It was her first time on grass and first time going long, and she showed a lot of grit," said Fires.

Round Pond will make the move to two turns following her eight-length win over maidens in a six-furlong race Feb. 27. Her trainer, John Servis, had entered her in a conditioned allowance for Thursday, but it did not fill, and after assessing the potential Honeybee field, Servis decided to run Saturday.

"She's just doing so good right now, and I think she can win," said Servis, who trains Round Pond for Fox Hill Farms and has given the mount to Stewart Elliott.

Southern was a sharp allowance winner in her last start, when she led throughout for a 1 1/2-length win over the well-regarded Soul Search in a 1 1/16-mile conditioned allowance on Feb. 21.

Before that race, Southern was third in a six-furlong entry-level allowance at Oaklawn. She is a daughter of Southern Halo and races for Virginia Kraft Payson. Trainer Sonny Wigginton has given the mount to Joe Johnson.