03/08/2004 12:00AM

Pace makes race for 'Nevada'


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Nevada Miss has post, pedigree, and preparation in her favor Wednesday in the featured eighth race at Oaklawn Park. But will she have pace?

"The worry is somebody shaking loose at a flat mile and controlling everything," said Lynn Whiting, who trains the late-running Nevada Miss.

Mae Hap is a serious candidate to do just that in the entry-level allowance for fillies and mares. But, a couple of starters in the one-mile race will be stretching out around two turns, and they could help make for some honest fractions for Nevada Miss.

Nevada Miss, who will break from post 2, faces 11 others on Wednesday. The race will be her first start since Nov. 28, when she closed for fourth in an entry-level allowance at Churchill Downs. Prior to that race, Nevada Miss was second in another entry-level allowance in Louisville, where she raced after winning her maiden at Keeneland in October.

Nevada Miss shows some strong works for her return. She went five furlongs in 1:00.80 on Feb. 23, and followed that work with six furlongs in 1:14.60 on March 2.

"I think she's ready to run," said Whiting, who trained 1992 Kentucky Derby winner Lil E. Tee. "She's trained well, and she's coming into this race in good order. She also has recent races at Churchill Downs last fall, so she has some of that seasoning under her to fall back on."

Whiting, who trains Nevada Miss for the partnership of Levitch, Holloway, and Blieden, has given the mount to Carlos Marquez Jr. Whiting looks for the filly to make her bid from off the pace once again Wednesday.

"She can settle back there, and Carlos will find her a path," he said.

Whiting added that a clean trip will be important for Nevada Miss because of the short stretch run in one-mile races at Oaklawn. The filly, who is one of the highest earners in the field, is a half-sister to Jaramar Rain, a stakes winner of $265,630.

Mae Hap made her two-turn debut in her last start and dueled through quick fractions before finishing second. She drew farther outside on Wednesday and will break from post 9. Willie Martinez has the mount for trainer Mark Thomas.

Red Cell is a quality comebacker. She will be making her first start since June, when she ran third in an entry-level allowance at Churchill Downs. For her effort she earned an 85 Beyer Speed Figure, the highest last-race number of all starters Wednesday. Trainer David Vance has given the mount to apprentice Justin Shepherd.