09/23/2009 11:00PM

Lots to like about Dash Dot Dash in stakes


POMONA, Calif. - At the unique five-eighths-mile Fairplex Park racetrack, autumn handicapping traditions remain comfortably predictable - class, course, jockey.


It makes the $50,000 Palomares Stakes on Friday easy to handicap. The stakes filly Dash Dot Dash drops in company and returns to her favorite stomping grounds as the strong favorite in the stakes for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles.

Welcome home, Dash Dot Dash.

"She handles that track really well," trainer Vladimir Cerin said, surprised his big filly is 2 for 2 on the bullring. "You think of little horses liking the turns better, but she's a really big filly and just handles that track really well."

She also gets Fairplex jockey dominator Martin Pedroza, who rode Dash Dot Dash to both Fairplex stakes victories here last fall as a 2-year-old - the at 1 1/16 miles.

On Friday, 3-for-10 Dash Dot Dash makes her second start after a short break, and Cerin said "she's been working really well; Martin's worked her on the [Santa Anita] training track and said she felt great."

Dash Dot Dash, owned by Southern Comfort Stable, is the 8-5 favorite on the preliminary track line. And although she is the one to beat, others have sufficient credentials. Jehan is only 2 for 14, but she recently hit the board in three tougher stakes for trainer Mike Mitchell. The No. 2-ranked Alonso Quinonez will ride.

Kaweah Princess was either outclassed or out-surfaced twice at Del Mar, nowhere in turf stakes. But she is 3 for 6 and won a . Jerry Hollendorfer trains the good filly, whose main challenge is answering the question of distance. Can she stay?

The knock on the three Palomares favorites is that all three have the same style as front-runners or pressers. A fast-pace meltdown would flatter the chances of another Hollendorfer trainee - the longshot Pretty Katherine.

Hollendorfer has quietly believed the daughter of Vindication possesses more ability than shown. Pretty Katherine in a spin-around-the-track prep Sept. 10, and though unproven beyond sprints, she is bred long with a closing style that suggests she can run long. And she will start at a price.