02/28/2002 12:00AM

Kendrick Peak faces yet another challenge

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PHOENIX - The two times Kendrick Peak has raced she has been asked to leap over a tall building in a single bound.

She was asked to face winners in her debut; she passed with flying colors. In her second start she was asked to face stakes horses, off a layoff, routing for the first time. Again, no problem.

And while there remain hurdles for her third career start in Saturday's Cactus Cup Handicap at Turf Paradise, they don't seem as significant this time around. That may lead to Kendrick Peak going off the favorite among eight 3-year-old fillies who are slated to go 6 1/2 furlongs in the Cactus Cup, the ninth of 10 races.

Although she won the Sun Devil Jan. 12 going a mile, Kendrick Peak may be best as a sprinter. She has sustained speed but isn't speed crazy.

In her debut, she was allowed to find her stride, then maintained a long run, eventually winning by more than eight lengths, under wraps. The filly she beat, Calce Clunes, has since won a stakes.

Trained by Kevin Lewis, Kendrick Peak has worked smartly since her Sun Devil score, topped off by a bullet six-furlong move Feb. 20 in 1:12.40. Carl Kutz has the ride from post 5. Kendrick Peak carries 121 pounds.

At 122 pounds, the Cactus Cup highweight is recent Arizona Oaks winner Bella Cash. Trained by Dennis Sowers, Bella Cash rallied in the 1 1/16-mile Oaks Feb. 2 to win going away. She earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 81.

Before the Arizona Oaks, Bella Cash finished third in the Sun Devil, beaten more than six lengths by Kendrick Peak. So she has to make up ground on that filly, and she must do it while cutting back to a sprint. She's won twice sprinting, one a stakes win at Yavapai. Glen Corbett rides from post 8.

Southern California shipper Bully's Del Mar has yet to be beaten to the wire in two career starts. Last June she drew off for a smart win over straight maidens at 77-1 at Hollywood, only to be disqualified and placed eighth. Bully's Del Mar, trained by David La Croix, didn't race again until Feb. 8 at Santa Anita, going wire to wire to beat high-priced maiden claimers.

Seth Martinez rides Bully's Del Mar at 117 pounds.

Queen Marge comes off a 16-length allowance win here Jan. 20. A Roberta Grissom-trained daughter of Kentucky Derby winner Grindstone, Queen Marge had previously graduated easily Dec. 10.

Queen Marge worked strongly here Feb. 23, going five furlongs in a bullet 1:00. Frank Gonsalves rides at 120 pounds.

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