05/24/2006 11:00PM

Maria's Quest best of stablemates


INGLEWOOD, Calif.- Hello Irish, Lost on Champagne, and Maria's Quest give owner Daniel Cardenas and trainer Sal Gonzalez a powerful team for Saturday's $65,000 Cinderella Stakes at Hollywood Park.

Bettors, however, are on their own trying to determine which of the three 2-year-old fillies will run best in the 5 1/2-furlong race.

Earlier this month, the California Horse Racing Board launched a test program that allows horses with common ownership to race uncoupled. As a result, the three Cardenas-owned fillies will race as separate betting interests in the Cinderella, which has drawn a field of 10. In the past, the three would have been coupled as an entry, which would have been a short-priced favorite.

Gonzalez insists they all deserve a shot in California's first stakes of the year for 2-year-old fillies.

"They all came around at the same time, and they're training well," Gonzalez said. "Where else can you go?"

Gonzalez says that may be the best of the three. A Maria's Mon filly, she won a maiden race by 2 1/2 lengths at 29-1 on April 27, taking the lead on the turn and drawing clear in early stretch.

"I think the one that has shown the most talent is Maria's Quest," Gonzalez said. "She's worked really well. Maria's Quest didn't break very good, and then she got position and she drew away."

Maria's Quest was the first of the three fillies to win. On May 4, Lost on Champagne scored by a length in a $40,000 claimer for maidens.

"I think Lost on Champagne has the most speed" of the three, Gonzalez said.

won a maiden special weight race for statebreds on May 13. She fought for the early lead and drew off to win by 2 1/4 lengths.

"I didn't have time to work Hello Irish, but she went in a two-minute clip a few days ago," Gonzalez said.

The Cinderella field includes two shippers: Richwoman and Sharoana.

, trained by Steve Asmussen, beat maidens by seven lengths at Keeneland in her lone start on April 9.

Sharoana beat maidens by four lengths in a four-furlong race at Golden Gate Fields on May 4. She was a troubled fifth in her debut on April 14.

The race also includes the maidens Kimmy Potter and Uniquely Tatiana; Smart n'Quiet and Yo Joan, who won two-furlong races at Santa Anita in March; and Lady Hikaru, who beat maiden claimers in a slow time here on May 5.