03/10/2005 1:00AM

Scarzane a threat to Latenite Special

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Latenite Special, a leading 3-year-old filly in New Mexico last year, may establish herself as the best older filly or mare in the state with a win in the $100,000 Sydney V. Handicap at Sunland Park. Latenite Special faces 11 rivals in the one-mile event for statebred fillies and mares.

Claimed for what turned out to be a bargain price of $10,000 in her 2004 debut, Latenite Special later won three stakes and placed second in another, and ended the year with earnings exceeding $142,000.

In her first start this year, a one-mile allowance prep last month at Sunland, Latenite Special dominated her seven foes by 5 3/4 lengths, the largest margin of victory in her career. Regular rider Ken Tohill will be back aboard Latenite Special for trainer Mitch Lane.

Scarzane, 6, appears to be the main threat to Latenite Special. A stakes winner at Sun Ray Park last year and stakes placed during the current Sunland meet, Scarzane has proven tough as nails over the last year, never finishing worse than third in her last nine starts. Scarzane has recently both beaten and lost to Betsy N and Ghost Chatter, two fillies who also figure as contenders in the Sydney V.

My Desert Lady, trained and co-owned by Steve Asmussen, is the lone 3-year-old in the Sydney V., and may find it difficult beating older fillies of this quality so early in the season.