05/21/2009 11:00PM

Speedsters facing off in Federal Way


AUBURN, Wash. - Ladyledue has won each of her three starts in gate-to-wire style. What R the Odds has gone her one better, winning four in a row while setting or pressing a quick pace. They will meet for the first time Sunday at Emerald Downs in the $50,000 Federal Way Handicap for 3-year-old fillies, the feature event on a 10-race card that begins at 2 p.m.

Ladyledue's streak began last August, when she bypassed maiden company to try stakes foes in her first start. Sent off at 6-1, she raced to an eight-length victory in the Knights Choice Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs. She has been 2-5 and 3-5 in her subsequent starts, victories in the six-furlong Diane Kem Stakes to close 2008 and the six-furlong Inaugural Stakes to open her 3-year-old campaign.

Trained by Bonnie Jenne for owner Jon Sather, Ladyledue likely will be favored Sunday with leading rider Ricky Frazier up, though she may have to elevate her game to another level to protect her undefeated record. The field for the Federal Way Handicap is the strongest she has seen, and the presence of What R the Odds would seem to eliminate the chance that Ladyledue can get an easy lead and play come-and-catch-me.

What R the Odds has been a dominating presence at Hastings Park since beginning her racing career last June. She finished second in her debut over 3 1/2 furlongs on a wet racetrack. She has been close to untouchable ever since, winning a maiden race and then three consecutive stakes. In her most recent start, her first of 2009, she recorded a Beyer Speed Figure of 78 in winning the 6 1/2-furlong Emerald Downs Stakes at Hastings Park. By comparison, Ladyledue's win in the Inaugural Stakes resulted in a Beyer Figure of 67. Trained by Mel Snow and owned by his wife, Fran, What R the Odds will be ridden by Seth Martinez.

If Ladyledue and What R the Odds set a breakneck pace, the late-running Popular Date could be a powerful factor in the final furlong. A two-time winner at Hollywood Park to begin her racing career, Popular Date most recently finished fourth, beaten less than two lengths, in an $80,000 optional claimer at Santa Anita. Trained by Christopher Paasch in California, she has been turned over to Terry Gillihan for her Emerald Downs debut. Gallyn Mitchell will ride.

Other top contenders include Glou Bou Liza, an impressive winner of a first-level allowance in her 3-year-old debut; Linovision, who put up a 77 Beyer in a maiden-race victory three weeks ago; and Where I Belong, a close second behind Ladyledue in her first start at the meeting.