03/02/2005 1:00AM

Splendid Blended possible for Oaks

Benoit & Associates
The West Coast-based Splendid Blended could ship to Fair Grounds for the March 12 Oaks.

NEW ORLEANS - Fair Grounds officials are hoping for a match of potential champions in the Grade 3 Fair Grounds Oaks on March 12.

"We're trying to get Splendid Blended to come," said racing secretary Ben Huffman. "She would add tremendous depth to the race."

Splendid Blended, based in Southern California with trainer Neil Drysdale, may well make her seasonal debut in the Oaks. The culmination of the meet's stakes program for 3-year-old fillies, the $300,000 Oaks is a key prep for the April 30 Kentucky Oaks, and the addition of Splendid Blended would make the Fair Grounds Oaks a four-star preview of the filly spring classic.

"It's not official," said Huffman. "Everything has to go perfectly to get her here. They got a little behind with her training because of the rain. She will work later this week and we'll know after that."

Splendid Blended's only loss was a second-place finish to Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Sweet Catomine in the Grade 2 Oak Leaf at Santa Anita in October. Splendid Blended hooked up with Sweet Catomine in only her second start, and ran a bit greenly but still finished second.

Splendid Blended has shown both pace-controlling speed and an ability to rate in a brief career, She won the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet at Hollywood Park in December going away in her last start, and has been making progress toward her 3-year-old debut.

If she comes, Splendid Blended will square off against Runway Model, who according to trainer Bernie Flint will make her 3-year-old debut in the Oaks. Runway Model finished third to Sweet Catomine in the BC Juvenile Fillies, encountering traffic problems that likely cost her second place. She was so full of herself after the race that Flint brought her up to the Golden Rod at Churchill in November on light works yet she still won that race easily.

Waiting for these star fillies will be the Steve Asmussen-trained Summerly, who won the Silverbulletday here with authority; the dramatically improved Eyes on Eddy, second to Summerly in the Silverbulletday; and third-finisher Enduring Will, a talented stretch runner who is just rounding into form.

It's worth noting that Summerly's time in the Silverbulletday was nearly a second faster than Scipion's victory in the Risen Star the same day.

Pawyne Princess recovering from breakdown

Pawyne Princess, who broke both sesamoids in her left leg during the Chou Croute Handicap, is recovering well after surgery, reports trainer Gamaliel Vazquez.

"The prognosis is excellent for her recovery," said Vazquez. "She's in a cast right now. She's eating, walking around. They take this cast off in two weeks, take a look at it, and put another cast on."

The operation involved fusing her ankle and using a metal plate to stabilize the area where the bones fractured. Pawyne Princess has survived in part because she is an intelligent patient.

"She seems to understand what is going on," said Vazquez, explaining that when she broke down jockey Carlos Marquez Jr. pulled her up right away and picked up the injured leg. "She relaxed and stood there for him instead of spooking and thrashing around and complicating the injury."

* Sure Prize tops of field of eight in Friday's feature, a $40,000 optional claimer at 1 1/8 miles on the turf. Barnard Man and Distorted Power are both in for the tag.