11/15/2007 12:00AM

Kid Soup rates a slight edge

EmailSTICKNEY, Ill. - Eight 2-year-old fillies were entered Thursday for the Miss Power Puff Stakes on Saturday at Hawthorne. Toss any of them at your own peril.

The Miss Power Puff, a $45,000 overnight race, is carded at six furlongs on the main track, a main track that can be tricky to handicap. But there are horses here who made their most recent start at four different racetracks, and it is difficult to assemble the individual past performances into a coherent whole.

For instance: How good is Zuella? A debut winner May 28 at Canterbury Park, Zuella subsequently struggled, finishing fifth in a Prairie Meadows stakes and a distant third in a Hawthorne entry-level allowance before scoring a surprising blowout win here Oct. 11. At odds of almost 8-1 in a six-horse field, Zuella drew off to win by five lengths.

"She jumped and ran a big race, and I'm not really sure why," said trainer Mike Stidham. "She's got a right to improve."

Bamboo looked like a decent prospect for trainer Helen Pitts in midsummer, with consecutive wins at Churchill Downs and Ellis Park, but at odds of 5-2 in the Sept. 1 Bassinet at River Downs, Bamboo was beaten almost 20 lengths. Her most recent performance, a ninth of 14 in the Grade 3 Pocahontas, was a little better, but hardly overwhelming.

La Wildcat, another Kentucky shipper, finished third in a restricted New Jersey stakes two races ago, but was sixth last out in a Churchill allowance, and may be hard-pressed on the lead Saturday. Seal Jane closed into a wicked early pace and won a maiden race here Oct. 9. This will be a step up in class, and it's even possible that trainer Steve Asmussen's other horse in the race, Capricious, has more raw talent.

Three Graces made nice second-start improvement to win a so-so maiden race here Oct. 5, and may yet have uspside. Magdalena's Chase was struggling in Calder stakes races when last seen a couple of months ago, and makes her first start for trainer Justin Evans.

Which brings us round to Kid Soup, the pick to win the Miss Power Puff. But there's a big question here, too: Can Kid Soup perform as well on Hawthorne dirt as she did last out on Keeneland Polytrack? If yes, Kid Soup will have a good chance to win her second race in three tries. She beat 10 at Keeneland while winning by almost three lengths, and trainer Austin Smith shipped Kid Soup here from Kentucky to get in a work over the racetrack. Kid Soup could eventually wind up a better turf-route horse, but with a decent pace at which to run, and a clean trip, she might be the right guess.