03/12/2004 12:00AM

New style improves Ender's Sister


OLDSMAR Fla. - Ender's Sister has shown steady improvement since beginning her career at Saratoga last summer and enters Sunday's $150,000 Florida Oaks on a three-race winning streak and as one of the favorites in the nine-horse field.

Ender's Sister won her maiden in her fourth career start at Aqueduct in November and has since taken both of her Florida starts, the Three Ring at Calder in December and the Suncoast Stakes here Feb. 21. She has natural speed, but has seemed to improve the farther she has raced, developing from a speed horse into a dangerous stalking type who lurks off the pace and then pounces at the right time.

This change in running style did not happen by itself, according to Larry Ulrich, Gulfstream Park assistant to Ender's Sister's trainer, Rusty Arnold.

"It was a culmination of the work Rusty has done with the filly since we brought her to Florida," Ulrich said. "After she broke her maiden at Aqueduct and we shipped south, Rusty told me he wanted to get her to relax and race off the bit early in her races. He worked with her during the five weeks between her Aqueduct race and the Three Ring."

In the Three Ring, Ender's Sister stalked the leaders along the inside, then found room in the stretch and pulled away for a seven-length win. Brought back in the Suncoast off a nine-week break, Ender's Sister's patience was tested when she and jockey Brian Peck were boxed in and blocked from the far turn to upper stretch. When a small seam opened between horses, Ender's Sister responded quickly, shooting through the hole to gain the lead late and preserve a three-quarter-length win.

Ender's Sister's progress has not surprised her connections, and Ulrich said her talent was evident as far back as last spring.

"I was up at Saratoga when Rusty called me from Belmont and told me this would be one of our better fillies," Ulrich said.

Pat Day will be aboard Ender's Sister in the 1 1/16-mile Oaks.

With Menifeeque, Bill White opted to pass on the Grade 3 Forward Gal at Gulfstream on Saturday in favor of the Oaks. A Menifee filly, Menifeeque has won her last two outings on the main track against allowance company and may figure prominently in the outcome of the Oaks under Corneli0 Velasquez.

Also deserving of consideration is Fall Fashion, who will be ridden by Edgar Prado. She finished second in her last out, Feb. 21, beaten less than a length by Ender's Sister in the Suncoast, which was Fall Fashion's first race in five weeks.

Ladyinareddress, who was a fast-closing third in the same race, could also be a factor. She will be ridden by Winston Thompson.