08/30/2001 11:00PM

Last dance for 2-year-old fillies


AUBURN, Wash. - Several outstanding 2-year-old fillies have emerged at the current Emerald Downs meeting, but none has stayed around long enough to take control of the division.

Obispo Kid caused a stir with a fast maiden special weight win in May, but she was subsequently shipped to Del Mar, where she easily defeated $62,500 claimers on Aug. 2. Then Strong Credentials and Strikes No Spares drew attention with flashy maiden special weight scores in June. Those two hooked up in a memorable showdown in the six-furlong Angie C. Stakes on July 8, when Strong Credentials prevailed by a diminishing half-length in a sparkling 1:10.40. After that race Strong Credentials was shipped to Arlington Park, where she is scheduled to contest a six-furlong stakes this Saturday, while Strikes No Spares was sold privately for a sum believed to be in the mid-six figures.

As a result of those departures and injuries to other highly regarded fillies, divisional leadership is still up for grabs coming into Sunday's one-mile, $55,000 Barbara Shinpoch Stakes, which is the last added-money event of the season exclusively for 2-year-old fillies. Among the top candidates to fill the void are last out winners Senfully Easy, Midnight Lightning, and Chic Crossing.

Senfully Easy ran second to Strikes No Spares and another promising Smart Strike filly, Winning Approach, before defeating maiden special weight company with six furlongs in 1:10.80 in her third start on Aug. 5. The daughter of Mr. Easy Money and Sendosha is seeking to become her dam's fourth stakes-winning foal, but her pedigree tilts toward speed.

"There is a question about how far she wants to go, but Mr. Easy Money did win going long and one of her sisters, Classy Rolls, could also route," said breeder, part-owner and trainer Len Kasmerski. "She is a big, strong filly and she is doing well now, so I think she deserves a chance at this race."

Midnight Lightning, like Senfully Easy, required three starts to graduate, then came back to defeat $40,000 optional claimers by five lengths in an extremely impressive performance on Aug. 12.

"I thought she was a runner all along, and I was disappointed that she didn't win first time out," said trainer Bud Klokstad. "She has gotten better with every start, though, and I thought she really broke through in her last start. That was at 6 1/2 furlongs and she is bred for distance, so I'm hoping she'll improve again at a mile."

Chic Crossing is probably the most stoutly bred filly in the Shinpoch, being by Valley Crossing and from a Miswaki mare, yet she collected her maiden win in her fourth start on Aug. 16 with 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:04, the fastest clocking at the meeting for a 2-year-old.

"I've always felt she was a router, but horses with talent can usually sprint, too," said trainer Doris Harwood. "She impressed me as being very talented from the first time she stepped on the track, but she got a cold and had various other little problems that slowed her down. I really never had her right until her last race, so I'm pretty excited about her future. I think she'll run a big race on Sunday."

Top young stallions at sale

Tuesday's Washington Thorough-bred Breeders Association Summer Yearling Sale, which gets under way at 1 p.m. in the Morris J. Alhadeff Sales Pavilion on the grounds of Emerald Downs, will feature the progeny of many of the country's most exciting young stallions. Among those represented by at least one yearling are Captain Bodgit, Forest Wildcat, Grand Slam, Joyeux Danceur, Labeeb, Loup Sauvage, Maria's Mon, Ordway, Smart Strike, and Twining.

It's a good bet, however, that the sons and daughters of Game Plan will receive at least as much attention. Game Plan, a regally bred son of Danzig and Cadillacing, by Alydar, entered stud at Royal Match Stud in Enumclaw in 1997 and stood for three seasons before moving on to California. His second crop of Washington-bred foals are now 2-year-olds, and among the five who have won at the current Emerald Downs meeting are the stakes winners Kenny Hawk and Perfect Plan, the stakes-placed Music to My Heart,and stakes runners Bold Ranger and Change of Plans. Game Plan has five yearlings in Tuesday's sale.