03/30/2006 12:00AM

Miss Elsie considers this her territory


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Sometimes the best angle is the simplest: Miss Elsie loves Oaklawn Park. A winner of 5 of 7 starts here during her 12-race career, she is the one to beat Saturday in the $50,000 Carousel Stakes.

The six-furlong race is for fillies and mares, and the chief threat is Platinum Princess, whose trainer, Steve Asmussen, is shooting for his third straight victory in the Carousel.

has made three starts at the meet. She was second to Grade 1 winner Round Pond in a six-furlong optional claimer Feb. 16; a fast-closing fourth in the $50,000 Spring Fever at 5 1/2 furlongs March 14; and a three-quarter-length winner of an optional claimer March 17.

"She's run good all three races here and, really, she's just had a brilliant career at Oaklawn," said Larry Jones, who trains Miss Elsie for Nelson McMakin.

Miss Elsie, who has registered all of her wins at Oaklawn, earned a career-best 95 Beyer Speed Figure when she finished second to Round Pond, 2 3/4 lengths back, in a race that went in a sharp 1:09.93.

"We really liked her race against Round Pond," said Jones.

Miss Elsie has speed and can stalk. She will break from post 5 under regular rider Terry Thompson.

"She can do whatever she makes up her mind to do," said Jones. "If they just want to hand her the lead and let her go, she's done that before. We'll just take it as it comes up."

encountered trouble at the start of the Spring Fever last out and rallied from more than six lengths back to finish second by three-quarters of a length. Before that race, she was prominent throughout to win an optional claimer at the Fair Grounds meet at Louisiana Downs.

"I think she'll be closer than she was the other day," said Asmussen, who won the Carousel last year with Savorthetime and in 2004 with Eternal Cup. He also won the race in 1998 with Little Sister.

Stewart Elliott has the mount on Platinum Princess, who races for John G. Sikura Jr.

Others in the field are Lady Riss, who won five consecutive races last year and will be ridden by Robby Albarado; the quick True Tails, who will attempt to steal the race on the front end from post 2; Mandy Lea, who also has early speed; and Teller Line, who won an optional claimer here March 9.

* Earlie Fires is scheduled to begin riding here on a regular basis Saturday.