10/20/2003 11:00PM

She's a maiden, but Hollywood Story has a shot


ARCADIA, Calif. - Hollywood Story may still be a maiden, but she has more than a fair chance to make an impact in Saturday's $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies.

Hollywood Story is half of a solid two-ply entry that trainer John Shirreffs will send out against undefeated Halfbridled. Tarlow, who finished a half-length ahead of Hollywood Story when those two finished second and third behind Halfbridled in the Oak Leaf, is the other.

Hollywood Story is winless in three starts, but she faced top-flight company in all three races. In her debut at Del Mar, Hollywood Story finished second, 6 1/2 lengths behind Victory U. S. A. - another contender in the Juvenile Fillies.

Seeking to get a stakes placing for Hollywood Story, Shirreffs entered her back in the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante, where she again finished second, five lengths behind Halfbridled.

"She had a little trouble," Shirreffs said. "Patrick [Valenzuela] had to steady her and she ran into some traffic problems, so we felt she could have been closer.''

In the Oak Leaf, Hollywood Story was sixth and wide early, made a bit of a run to reach contention by the quarter pole, but ran only evenly in the stretch. Based on the way she ran that day, Shirreffs has opted to put blinkers on Hollywood Story.

"Patrick said it was her first time at Santa Anita, and turning for home she was looking at the grandstand, looking at the tote board, so she wasn't really focused down the lane," Shirreffs said. "So for this race we're going to put blinkers on her.''

Shirreffs got an immediate response to the blinkers on Monday when Hollywood Story zipped five furlongs in 58.80 seconds at Hollywood Park under exercise rider Michelle Jensen. It was the fastest of 28 moves at the distance.

"We were looking for a minute,'' Shirreffs said. "We wanted her to break off a little sharp and just go steady from there. When [Jensen] pulled up and found out she went in 58 and change she was almost in tears.''

Shirreffs said Hollywood Story came out of the work in good order.

Shirreffs was not sure how Tarlow would react to racing two turns, and the jury may still be out after she ran off with jockey Mike Smith in the Oak Leaf. Tarlow did well to hold second after dueling with Halfbridled down the backstretch. Shirreffs said he decided not to put blinkers on Tarlow.

"It's more mechanical with her,'' Shirreffs said. "She had a little bruise in her mouth and we've been working on that. I took her to Hollywood, where there's not as much traffic as there was here, so we could put her down on the rail and focus on not going to the outside.''

Shirreffs said his fillies are as close in ability as they are different in their constitution.

"Tarlow is smaller, doesn't hold her weight as well,'' Shirreffs said. "Hollywood Story is big and robust and has almost a dressage way of going, a bounce to her stride, and she tends to rate very well.''