07/17/2009 12:00AM

Ladyledue faces toughest yet


AUBURN, Wash. - Five challengers, including talented newcomers Point of Reference, Super Dixie, and No Flies on Doodle, will try to knock Ladyledue from the unbeaten ranks Sunday in the $50,000 Washington's Lottery Handicap at Emerald Downs. A 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies, the Washington's Lottery is the seventh race on a 10-race program that begins at 2 p.m.

Ladyledue already has claimed a piece of Emerald Downs history: She is the first horse to begin a racing career with five consecutive stakes victories. But she has yet to face a field as strong as the one Sunday. The central handicapping question is whether Ladyledue, a front-running Slewdledo filly, can withstand what figures to be a rapid pace, and then hold off a closing bid from Point of Reference, a proven router who has been stakes-placed three times in Northern California.

Ladyledue has responded to every challenge to date. She won the restricted Knights Choice Stakes by eight lengths in her career debut last August, and then took the restricted Diane Kem by more than four lengths in her final start at 2. She has won each of her three starts this year for trainer Bonnie Jenne, most recently dominating the one-mile Irish Day Handicap by nearly eight lengths in her first try around two turns.

Ladyledue was able to set a relaxed pace that day under regular rider Ricky Frazier, cruising through the first half-mile in 47.20 seconds, but she will have company on the front end Sunday. Super Dixie and No Flies on Doodle, who finished one-two after a race-long duel in a speedy second-level allowance June 28, project as pace factors, with Point of Reference, Seeking Ema, and Crocodile Tuff biding their time from the back.

Super Dixie ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.20 to beat No Flies on Doodle by a half-length in her allowance victory, a sharp effort following a six-month layoff. She earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 82 and would be hard to deny if she moves forward Sunday. The chief concern with Super Dixie is the distance. She sprinted to a long lead in her only route attempt last summer before fading to finish a well-beaten fifth. Jose Contreras has the riding assignment for trainer Doris Harwood.