11/05/2010 3:23PM

May Day Rose going longer in Sharp Cat


INGLEWOOD, Calif. – The six juvenile fillies running 1 1/16 miles in the $100,000 Sharp Cat Stakes on Sunday at Hollywood Park have much to prove.

May Day Rose has not started since she was fully extended in a maiden sprint at Del Mar two months ago; True Way of Grace finished a distant fifth her first start over a route of ground; and Big Tiz scored a workmanlike maiden win last out.

Three other entrants include Wallstreeter, a 20-length maiden turf winner at Turf Paradise; Teddy’s Promise, a maiden sprint winner by nearly eight; and claiming-caliber Darling Ciana, the only two-time winner in the Sharp Cat.

Though billed as a prep race for the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet on Dec. 11, the Sharp Cat has been inconsequential since its first running in 2005. Balance won, finished second in the Starlet, and later won three Grade 1 stakes.

The field for the 2010 Sharp Cat is unproven, and so is May Day Rose’s ability to stretch her speed. Bob Baffert trains the Rockport Harbor filly who has not started since she held on to win a Del Mar maiden sprint Sept. 4.

Baffert believes May Day Rose may have been compromised by an anti-speed bias when she weakened in that 5 1/2-furlong race. She won by a diminishing half-length. Two turns is a question for the Sharp Cat; Baffert has been aiming her for weeks to the Sharp Cat. Martin Garcia rides.

True Way of Grace had an unusual trip last out in the Grade 1 Oak Leaf. She broke well and was positioned third behind Indian Gracey and Rigoletta. But instead of maintaining position, she was allowed to drop farther and farther off the pace until she lost interest.

It is possible True Way of Grace is not good enough. But on Sunday, she is reunited with jockey Paul Atkinson, who rode her to a stakes victory two starts back at Fairplex. Early this week, trainer Alexis Barba worked her a half-mile in a bullet :46.60. True Way of Grace is likely to use her speed in the Sharp Cat.

Big Tiz already is a winner over a route of ground. Trained by Mark Glatt, She won a 1 1/16-mile maiden race by a head Oct. 10. Wallstreeter earned a race-high 85 Beyer Speed Figure winning a maiden turf raced by 20 lengths on Oct. 22 at Turf Paradise.