07/01/2002 11:00PM

Little Bit a Swiss needs bit more luck


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - A field of reasonably talented 2-year-old fillies race six furlongs Thursday in the Grade 3 Landaluce Stakes at Hollywood Park. If there is a star in the division, she must be waiting for Del Mar.

Magic Smoke and Little Bit a Swiss, one-two June 2 in the Cinderella Stakes, are among the principals, and Magic Smoke's trainer, Sandy Shulman, offers this realistic take: "The good news, for me, is none of those $2 million monsters are showing up. Generally at this time of year, somebody debuts one of those things that cost $1 to $2 million, and who knows how good they are?"

The highest Beyer this spring at Hollywood by a juvenile filly is 82, and Magic Smoke earned an 80 for her workmanlike Cinderella win. A daughter of Smokester, Magic Smoke's win was her second from four starts, and pushed her bankroll to $106,225. Not bad for a $3,500 yearling.

Magic Smoke was fortunate in the Cinderella, however, because runner-up Little Bit a Swiss was best. Making only her second start, she was gunned inside on the turn, shuffled back, re-rallied, and was outfinished while four lengths clear of third. Afterward, Little Bit a Swiss's jockey, Victor Espinoza, told trainer Patricia Harrington that if he had taken her to the outside at the start, she would have won.

Little Bit a Swiss, by sensational freshman sire Swiss Yodeler, should gain redemption in the $100,000 Landaluce, which attracted 10 entrants and goes as the ninth race. Swiss Yodeler has had seven winners in California, two in stakes, all trained by Mike or Patricia Harrington. They include Haggin Stakes winner Oberwald, and the filly My Honey Bunny, who flattered the Cinderella (she was third) by winning a $40,000 stakes Sunday at Pleasanton.

Solo Swinger, also by Swiss Yodeler, finished second in a minor stakes at Bay Meadows and is entered back in the Landaluce. Solo Swinger is trained by Mike Harrington, who admits his wife's filly, Little Bit a Swiss, has a stronger chance. "[Solo Swinger] can't outrun that other filly unless something happens," he said.

Another trainer enjoying a big meet is Spirit Run's trainer, Paul Aguirre. He entered the week having won 11 of 34, including an impressive debut by Spirit Run, who beat colts in front-running style and earned a 72 Beyer. Aguirre said Spirit Run has trained well since, "but I'm training this filly to have a career, rather than just this race. I'm hoping to teach her to rate a little bit."

There is no shortage of speed to set up the late runners. Buffythecenterfold and Tricks Her ran one-two in a fast-pace maiden race June 15; Himalayan set the pace and tired in the Cinderella; Solo Swinger has no option but to gun from the outside. Souvenir Crown won a slow-pace maiden race on the lead; Proud Girly and Bartok's Blithe will use the same closing style as Magic Smoke. At six furlongs, the Landaluce will the longest 2-year-old race of the meet.

"The distance has got to be an advantage [for Magic Smoke]," said Shulman. "We're hoping for the same kind of setup as the Cinderella - a lot of [speed] that wipes itself out."