10/27/2007 12:00AM

Lahudood doesn't mind soft turf after all

EmailOCEANPORT, N.J. - If Kiaran McLaughlin didn't truly believe that Lahudood was the better of the two turf fillies owner Sheikh Hamdan al-Maktoum sent him earlier this year, he's certainly a believer now as Lahudood rolled to a three-quarter-length victory in Saturday's $2 million Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf over the extremely soft turf course at Monmouth Park.

Honey Ryder, third in this race last year, rallied to get second by a neck over Passage of Time, the 5-2 favorite. It was another length back to Nashoba's Key, who had won all seven of her starts, in fourth. She was followed in the order of finish by All My Loving, Timarwa, Arravale, Precious Kitten, Argentina, and Danzon. Simply Perfect bolted entering the clubhouse turn and was pulled up.

Wait a While was scratched by trainer Todd Pletcher due to the soft turf course.

By virtue of this victory and her score in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl four weeks ago, Lahudood may have earned herself an Eclipse Award as North America's champion turf filly or mare.

That was something McLaughlin and Rick Nichols, the racing manager for Sheikh Hamdan's Shadwell Stable, would have thought far-fetched when Lahudood arrived in this country earlier this year along with Makderah. McLaughlin felt that Makderah, who won the Grade 2 New York Handicap, was the better of the two.

But Makderah suffered a cracked hind pastern training toward the Flower Bowl and was retired. Lahudood, who had finished last over "good" ground in the Beverly D., took her place in the Flower Bowl, winning in stakes-record time over firm turf. Lahudood was then supplmented to the BC Filly and Mare Turf at a cost of $180,000.

Sheikh Hamdan had told McLaughlin that the Beverly D. was a throw-out race because Lahudood didn't like soft ground. That proved to be incorrect as she appeared to relish the bog that was Monmouth's turf course.

"She handled it well in France," McLaughlin said. "It's just that Sheikh Hamdan felt she handled firm turf a little better, but she handles soft turf well, too."

Under 22-year-old Alan Garcia, Lahudood raced in midpack while in between horses as stablemates Precious Kitten and Argentina went out to the early lead. Simply Perfect outsprinted those two for the lead down the stretch the first time, but she bolted entering the clubhouse turn, taking Precious Kitten and Arravale with her.

Meanwhile, Argentina inherited the lead around the turn with Lahudood, Nashoba's Key, and Timarwa just behind her. Entering the far turn, Lahudood went after Argentina, caught her midway around the turn, opened up a two-length advantage in midstretch, and held on for the victory. Lahudood, a 4-year-old daughter of Singspiel, covered the 1 3/8 miles in 2:22.75 and returned $25.40 to win. It is expected she will be retired after this race.

Meanwhile, jockey Joe Talamo said Nashoba's Key was compromised by being on the rail most of the way.

"She was on the worst part of the track the whole way around there," Talamo said. "It was probably six inches deep on that rail."