07/08/2010 11:00PM

Landaluce comes down to three contenders


PHOENIX - She'll Heir won the Cinderella at Hollywood Park June 9, showing significant talent. Sunday's Landaluce Stakes at six furlongs at Hollywood Park gives her a chance to improve to 3 for 3 and stamp herself as the top filly in the region.

But the water is surely deeper this time. A lot deeper. At least two of the fillies she faces in the Landaluce figure to give She'll Heir all she can handle.

She'll Heir caused a chain reaction of trouble in the lane of the Cinderella, and many observers were left puzzled by the stewards' decision to let her keep the win.

Trained by Vladimir Cerin and ridden by Rafael Bejarano, She'll Heir was trapped behind horses to the top of the lane in the Cinderella. Instead of waiting for room or going around, She'll Heir simply made her own lane. She bulled her way through horses, caroming off at least one tiring rival who commenced a chain of havoc. She'll Heir, meanwhile, had done her damage and surged home for the win.

The stewards said She'll Heir did play a bit fast and loose with the rules of racing, but said the incident did not affect the order of finish. Find a replay and make your own judgment.

Strangely, despite letting the result stand, the stewards still gave Bejarano a five-day suspension for his part in the steering problem.

Nevertheless, She'll Heir got her stakes win, and Bejarano keeps the call on Sunday.

She'll Heir may go off as no better than the third choice in the wagering. That's because her win, while visually impressive, earned her a 60 Beyer Speed Figure. Put that alongside likely favorite Belleofthebridle's figures, and you see her problem.

Belleofthebridle made quite a splash in her April 21 debut here, against boys, no less. After going out to the early lead, she shooed away her rivals and drew off to win by 5 3/4 lengths. And she wasn't really asked. Her 81 Beyer was huge for a 2-year-old making her debut in April.

Trainer Walther Solis brought her back in the May 31 Willard Proctor, again facing the boys. Sent off as the 1-5 favorite, she dueled for the early lead but was no match for up-and-coming J P's Gusto in the lane, finishing second by 4 1/2 lengths. She was still over nine lengths clear of third, and the Beyer still came back a 78. That run looks even better when you note J P's Gusto came back to win the Grade 3 Hollywood Juvenile here July 5.

As if Belleofthebridle's presence wasn't enough for She'll Heir to deal with, there is also the presence of a scary new shooter.

Dawnie Macho, a daughter of champion juvenile Macho Uno, brought just $5,000 at auction last August, but, my, how things have changed. All Dawnie Macho did in her Arlington debut June 12 was whip maidens by five lengths in 51.16 seconds for 4 1/2 furlongs, a track record. She was promptly snatched up via private purchase by Gary and Cecil Barber and handed over to John Sadler. Now she eyes this prize Sunday.

Dawnie Macho must deal with new surroundings and winners for the first time, not to mention a different synthetic footing, Cushion Track, instead of the Polytrack at Arlington. Still, her debut earned a strong 90 Beyer, so the talent is there, and she put in a strong 1:01.40 work here July 5.

Others in the Landaluce are worthy of a look. Moonstruck Maya won her debut; Izshelegal is asked to make her debut in this tough spot but has worked well and is by champion 2-year-old Maria's Mon; Michailsaheartlite powered home to whip maiden claimers in last start; Swiss Wild Cat was just a length behind She'll Heir in the Cinderella despite being a victim of the trouble; and Hi Ho Yodeler easily won her debut and was then fourth in the Cinderella.

But the main competition appears to come down to She'll Heir, Belleofthebridle, and Dawnie Macho.

If Belleofthebridle's first two starts are any indications, this looks like her day to shine.