01/26/2006 12:00AM

Lots of talent in Dixie Belle


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - The $50,000 Dixie Belle will bolster the reputation of one of the 11 promising 3-year-old fillies in the six-furlong race at Oaklawn Park, because the winner will have defeated a deep, quick field Saturday.

, who start as separate interests for trainer Steve Asmussen, should vie for favoritism against the likes of stakes winners Jazzy Okie, Rich Fantasy, Love the Beach, and Gasia.

Adding further depth is High Heritage, a 15 1/2-length allowance winner for trainer Bernie Flint; Fast Deal, a maiden winner at Saratoga for trainer D. Wayne Lukas; and New Hope Seven, a sharp allowance winner last out for trainer Tom Amoss.

Lunargal is a half-sister to Lunarpal, a Grade 3 winner of $284,677. In her last start, Lunargal won an overnight stakes at Zia Park, cruising to a 5 1/2-length win while covering 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.20. One start earlier, Lunargal was a wire-to-wire maiden winner in a six-furlong race at the Fair Grounds meet at Louisiana Downs on Nov. 19.

"She ran very fast both times, and hopefully it will keep going our way," said Asmussen, who has given the mount to Luis Quinonez.

Shimmering Sunset is just as appealing. She was a half-length winner of an entry-level allowance in good time last out, when she covered six furlongs in 1:10.95 at the Fair Grounds meet. Shimmering Sunset was also flattered when runner-up New Hope Seven came back to win an allowance one start later, on Dec. 22.

Roman Chapa, fresh off winning the riding title at the Fair Grounds meet, has the mount on Shimmering Sunset.

The Dixie Belle is filled with front-runners, and that could benefit Jazzy Okie, who exits a two-turn stakes. She could be a stretch threat for trainer Kelly Von Hemel and jockey Don Pettinger.

Nice and steady for Round Pond

Round Pond, the winner of last year's Grade 1 Acorn, continues to make strides toward her seasonal debut. She breezed five furlongs in 1:01.72 on Thursday and galloped out six furlongs in 1:14.53. Jockey Stewart Elliott was aboard for trainer John Servis.

* Music School, who is closely related to 2003 Horse of the Year Mineshaft, will make his 3-year-old debut Saturday in the seventh race, an optional claiming allowance going six furlongs. In his lone start, Music School won his maiden at Churchill Downs.