11/15/2008 12:00AM

Moccasin pits class vs. speed


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Unbeaten front-runner Mi Chiamano Mimi is in tough Sunday at Hollywood Park, because Grade 1-placed front-runner Palacio de Amor will attack early in the seven-furlong Moccasin Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, a test of speed vs. class.

Eleven entered the $100,000 Moccasin, and who knows? The two favorites might run each other into submission. Although stakes-caliber Will O Way, Evita Argentina, and Pasar Silbano are logical alternatives, the Moccasin is likely to be won or lost up front.

Palacio de Amor resented rating strategy in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. Visibly uncomfortable pressing the pace under a hold, she gave way at the quarter pole and finished last. It was a learning lesson for owner-trainer Myung Kwon Cho and assistant Rafael Martinez.

"We tried to rate her, and she was not comfortable," Martinez said. "We're not going to try and rate her anymore. We'll let her jump out, and do what she wants to do."

Palacio de Amor wants to use her speed. She previously set the pace and finished second in two Grade 1's - the Oak Leaf Stakes and Del Mar Debutante. Martinez accurately described Palacio de Amor as the "class of the race."

The speed of the race is Mi Chiamano Mimi, who followed an ordinary maiden win with a sharp Oct. 19 victory in the Anoakia Stakes at Santa Anita. Setting wicked fractions of 21.54 and 44.08 seconds, Mi Chiamano Mimi raced gate to wire in 1:07.93 and earned a 100 Beyer, the highest of the year by a 2-year-old on synthetic.

"For a 2-year-old filly to run 1:07 and 4, man, I know that was a tough race," trainer Mike Mitchell said.

Since then, Mitchell has toyed with stretching her out, which is why her workouts have been slow. But for now, Mitchell is reluctant to consider the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet at 1 1/16 miles Dec. 13.