01/05/2006 12:00AM

No real threats to 'Celestial


Rather than risk running his unbeaten filly Celestial Legend over a muddy track in the one-mile Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship on Dec. 26, trainer Dale Capuano chose to scratch her.

Instead of stretching out for the first time, now will stick to sprinting as the heavy favorite in Saturday's $75,000 Marshua Stakes at Laurel Park. The 5 1/2-furlong race drew a field of seven 3-year-old fillies, including three stakes winners.

All the focus, however, will be on Celestial Legend, whose only close call in four career starts came in her debut at Delaware Park, when she prevailed by a nose at 17-1. Since then, she has won three races by a combined margin of 19 1/2 lengths, each time moving forward on the Beyer Speed Figure scale. Two of her victories have come in stakes.

Like Celestial Legend, is unbeaten, and she comes out of a victory as the favorite in the Blue Mountain Juvenile at Penn National last time out. Her 62 Beyer, however, is far short of the 88 Celestial Legend earned in her most recent race, the seven-furlong Holly at Laurel.

Malibu Sue won the restricted Eleanor Casey Memorial Stakes at Charles Town with a 57 Beyer a month ago. She, too, would have to improve substantially to threaten Celestial Legend.

The filly with the most potential to jump up and pull an upset appears to be Ten Halos. A winner during the summer of her first two starts, Ten Halos finished second after a wide trip from well off the pace in the 5 1/2-furlong Colleen Stakes at Monmouth Park. Trainer Mike Gorham has given her four months to regroup since she broke poorly in the Sorority at Monmouth in early September.

A steady string of workouts at Laurel and Gorham's 28 percent hit rate with horses returning from a layoff of greater than 60 days are encouraging signs that Ten Halos may be ready to fire fresh.