06/07/2007 11:00PM

Search for new stars begins in Oaks


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - For a few short weeks this winter at Santa Anita, Rags to Riches and Magnificience electrified the 3-year-old filly division by winning a combined five races, including three graded stakes.

But the juice was temporary. Rags to Riches shipped out after a maiden romp and two powerful Grade 1 wins. Magnificience went to the sidelines with an injury after two dazzling victories.

So now the 3-year-old filly division is back where it started, which is empty. On Sunday at Hollywood Park, eight undistinguished fillies will try to fill the void in the Grade 2, $150,000 Hollywood Breeders' Cup Oaks at 1 1/16 miles on Cushion Track.

Silver Swallow and Tough Tiz's Sis are the Oaks co-favorites, while turf stakes winner Hucking Hot and sprint stakes winner Ashley's Kitty are the secondary contenders. The outsiders are Follow the Clues, Spenditallbaby, High Cholesterol, and Seaside Affair.

Bruce Headley trains Silver Swallow, whose runner-up finish March 11 in the Santa Anita Oaks - beaten 5 1/2 by Rags to Riches - makes her the top horse Sunday. Owned by Headley and Irwin Molasky, Silver Swallow stretches out following a nose loss in the Grade 3, seven-furlong Railbird Stakes last month.

It has been 14 years since the Hollywood Oaks was won by a filly that had not earned a Beyer Figure of 90. It's unlikely that benchmark will be reached this year. Hucking Hot is the only entrant who has earned a 90, and she did it on turf. Silver Swallow's top figure is 89.

Bob Baffert trains Tough Tiz's Sis, who earned a career-high 88 Beyer winning the Sunland Park Oaks in March, then got pummeled in the Kentucky Oaks, running seventh.

"She got squeezed at the start and lost all chance," Baffert said. A 23-1 outsider in Kentucky, Tough Tiz's Sis will be one of the favorites on Sunday. She has won 3 of 7 starts.

Hucking Hot is racing for the first time since March 3, when she finished second in a turf stakes. She previously finished fourth in her Cushion Track debut, beaten four lengths in the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet in December. Trained by Paddy Gallagher, Hucking Hot has won 2 of 8 starts.

Ashley's Kitty scored a 17-1 upset May 13 over Silver Swallow in the seven-furlong Railbird. However, she lost her only start around two turns and has a sprinter's pedigree. Sired by Tale of the Cat, Ashley's Kitty is a half-sister to a sprinter; her dam was off the board in her lone start around two turns.