04/22/2004 11:00PM

Miss Coronado back on turf


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - After winning the Grade 2 Davona Dale Stakes at Gulfstream Park in February, Miss Coronado was just one more outstanding race from becoming one of the top contenders for the Kentucky Oaks.

But that race never came. Miss Coronado finished a dull eighth in her only subsequent try, the April 9 Fantasy Stakes, leading trainer Bobby Frankel to pull her from Oaks consideration.

was part of the Frankel contingent that recently took up residence in Barn 43 at Churchill Downs - and while she's here, what the heck? Frankel, ever the opportunist, spied a two-other-than turf allowance on the second day of the Churchill spring meet that he believed would suit Miss Coronado quite well, and when the feature race is run here Sunday, they will all have his filly to beat.

Miss Coronado, bred and owned by Stonerside Stable, won a maiden race on the Santa Anita turf course in January in her second career start. After that came the Davona Dale, then the Fantasy. With the Oaks no longer an option, Frankel believes now is as good a time as any to put Miss Coronado back on the turf.

"She ran really well on the turf," said Frankel, noting that he wouldn't be upset if wet conditions forced the feature to the main track.

Nine other horses - all of them older than the 3-year-old Miss Coronado - are entered in the Sunday feature, a $52,900 allowance that goes as the ninth of 10 races. Whether the race remains on turf or not, Cloakof Vagueness seems a major challenger to Miss Coronado.

Trained by Blackie Huffman, was the beaten favorite in her last start, the April 4 Bayakoa Stakes at Oaklawn Park. A striking gray filly by El Prado, she not only has the right type of pedigree to make a successful transition to grass, but also has the proven ability to be highly competitive at this level if the race moves to the dirt.

Other logical contenders in the 1 1/16-mile race, either turf or dirt, include Kitty's Legend and Honorable Cat.

One other allowance (race 7) and the first leg of the Ten Broeck starter-allowance marathon series (race 8) also are carded for Sunday, when first post is 12:45 p.m. Eastern.

Churchill goes dark Monday before a five-day race week, culminating with Kentucky Derby Day, begins Tuesday.