03/11/2010 1:00AM

She Be Wild seeks redemption


She Be Wild is the reigning Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies winner and champion 2-year-old filly, but even her staunchest supporters may have some doubts when she tries dirt for the second time in Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay Downs.

She Be Wild won four of her five starts at 2, and all of the races came over synthetic surfaces at Arlington Park, Keeneland, and Santa Anita. But her first try on dirt was a bust, a fifth-place finish behind Bickersons in Gulfstream Park's seven-furlong Forward Gal on Jan. 31.

Trainer Wayne Catalano had several options, including trying She Be Wild again at Gulfstream or training her up to her next major goal, Keeneland's Grade 1 Ashland on April 3. Instead, Catalano opted to bring her to Tampa and use the 1 1/16-mile Oaks as a prep and, hopefully, a confidence booster before the Ashland.

"I really wanted to get another race into her before the Ashland, and the two options at Gulfstream were either to go seven furlongs, which was too short, or a mile and one-eighth, which is too far," Catalano said. "This race looks like a pretty good spot for her, and I'm sure she'll handle the track just fine. It's a big day up there, so they should have the track nice and firm and not deep and loose. We should be good."

She Be Wild will carry high weight of 122 pounds. Jose Lezcano will ride her for the first time Saturday.

The presence of the champ did little to scare off the competition. The Oaks drew a field of 10 3-year-old fillies, with win machine Diva Delite her most imposing rival.

Diva Delite has already won seven times, including her last four starts dating back to Dec. 7 at Calder. Trainer David Vivian has found a home away from home for Diva Delite at Tampa, where she's shipped to win the Gasparilla and Suncoast stakes under jockey Rosemary Homeister Jr.

Trainer Anthony Dutrow is hoping to get his speedy Cuff Me back on the winning track following a fourth-place finish as the even-money favorite in Gulfstream's Grade 3 Old Hat on Jan. 9. A New York-bred, Cuff Me easily won all three of her starts at 2, including an overnight stakes in her juvenile finale at Aqueduct. The Florida Oaks will be her first race beyond six furlongs.

Trainer Todd Pletcher will give Imaginary Saint a second shot at Diva Delite following her third-place finish in the Suncoast. Imaginary Saint won her only other start around two turns by 6 1/2 lengths in a maiden race last fall at Delaware Park.

Completing the lineup are Tesoro de Amor, C C's Pal, Mallory Square, Miss Afleet Alex, Awesome Vow, and Yournotthebossofme.