05/01/2009 12:00AM

Mrs Kipling looks to improve


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - When Hollywood Park modified its spring-summer schedule and scrapped three graded stakes for 2009, one key division went virtually untouched - 3-year-old fillies on grass.

The Grade 1, $700,000 American Oaks on July 5 remains a Hollywood staple for 3-year-old fillies on turf, and the local path to the 1 1/4-mile Oaks begins Sunday in the Grade 3 Senorita Stakes, one of four stakes (three graded) for the division.

A field of 10 entered the $100,000 Senorita, a one-mile race that shapes up as wide open. But if the European import Mrs Kipling improves off a promising runner-up comeback in her U.S. debut, then the Neil Drysdale trainee must be considered the horse to beat.

Celebrity chef Bobby Flay owns Mrs Kipling, whose 2-for-5 overseas record was compiled in races at six furlongs or less. Overlooked at 16-1 in the Grade 2 Providencia on April 4 at Santa Anita, Mrs Kipling rallied wide, finished well, and missed by a half-length.

The start was her first in six months. It established her ability around two turns, and sets her up for a spring-summer campaign with many options, including the Grade 2 Honeymoon Handicap on May 31, the $100,000 Flawlessly on July 3, and the America Oaks.

David Flores rides Mrs Kipling back in the Senorita, which includes several front-runners and sufficient pace to flatter her closing run.

Pasar Silbano may have distance limitations, but her ability is not debated. The 5-for-9 Irish import won the Grade 3 La Habra Stakes on the downhill course at Santa Anita, then went too fast out front and weakened to third when sent long in the Providencia. Jim Cassidy trains Pasar Silbano, who is reunited with jockey Mike Smith.

Century Park won a maiden race on the Hollywood turf in December and subsequently scored a 24-1 upset on synthetic in the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel at Santa Anita. Last out, the Bob Baffert trainee finished third in the Sunland Oaks, beaten more than 14 lengths by Kentucky Oaks entrant Gabbys Golden Gal.

Acting Lady won the Providencia at 20-1 over four fillies she meets again Sunday. Trained by Doug O'Neill, Acting Lady will be ridden again by Victor Espinoza.

Lexlenos makes her U.S. debut for trainer Paddy Gallagher, while front-runners Burg Berg and Dash Dot Dash add speed. Pride Dancer, Candelejas, and Empressive Lady also entered the Senorita.