02/11/2010 12:00AM

Solid credentials abound in full field


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - A year ago, a future Horse of the Year won the Martha Washington for 3-year-old fillies at Oaklawn Park. Two years ago, the one-mile race was a launching pad for the runner-up in the Kentucky Derby.

Whether there is another Rachel Alexandra or Eight Belles in the Saturday renewal of the $75,000 Martha Washington remains to be seen. But the field is a good one, and a full one, with a gate of 12.

The group includes Decelerator, winner of the Grade 3 Debutante last summer at Churchill Downs; Shotgun Gulch, a two-time stakes winner who is 4 for 5; and Tiz Miz Sue, the runner-up to future champion She Be Wild in last year's Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Lassie. There's also a Florida shipper in Funny Feeling, a serious speed horse in Cosmo Girl, and an undefeated filly in Eve Giselle.

Decelerator made her season debut last out in the $50,000 Dixie Belle here Jan. 15, finishing second by a nose in the six-furlong race, which was won by Shotgun Gulch.

"I don't think she knew she got beat," said D. Wayne Lukas, who trains Decelerator. "It was awful tight. I think she will probably benefit from that race. I'm hoping that she'll move forward."

The return to two turns should also help Decelerator, said Lukas. The last time she ran a route of ground, she was second in at Churchill, a 1 1/16-mile stakes won by Sassy Image, one of her division's best. Terry Thompson will ride Decelerator, who breaks from the rail Saturday.

Funny Feeling was a sharp debut winner at Churchill in November. She made her stakes debut last month at Aqueduct and after a slow start finished third as the favorite in . She will be making her two-turn debut Saturday.

"I don't think it will be an issue," said trainer Mike Maker. "She's got class, as she showed in her maiden win. Hopefully, she stretches out, and hopefully, will take it to the next level."

Funny Feeling will be ridden by Victor Lebron.

"If there's no speed, she can take control," said Maker. "If there's plenty of speed, she has the ability to stalk."

Cosmo Girl should be showing the way. She ran a bang-up race in the Dixie Belle, when she set the pace over a tiring track and came back along the inside to finish a half-length behind Shotgun Gulch.