02/16/2007 12:00AM

Stablemate is Stealth Cat's main rival


Stealth Cat looks to affirm her status at the top of the local 3-year-old filly pecking order in Sunday's $50,000 Island Fashion at Sunland Park. But, when you have the bull's-eye on your back there is always someone looking to take you down, and oddly enough in this case it's one of her own stablemates: Midwest invader Nice Inheritance. Seven were entered in the mile event, a stepping-stone to the $200,000 WinStar Sunland Park Oaks March 18.

Stealth Cat, owned by J. Kirk Robison and trained by Steve Asmussen, has blossomed in recent months. Her connections claimed her for $25,000 out of a third-place finish Oct. 8 at Keeneland. She was off for two months and in her comeback was no factor in the Bara Lass at Sam Houston Dec. 2. Since then, however, she's flourished, rattling off three straight wins, all at this track, including the El Paso Times Handicap here Jan. 28. Glen Murphy, aboard for those three victories, has the call again.

Nice Inheritance, trained by Asmussen and owned by the Vinery Stables and partners, burst through with a 7 3/4-length maiden win at Hawthorne Oct. 21. She was brought back in the Cimarron Stakes at Remington Park Nov. 18, her first try on turf. She sat well back early and powered home to win by 1 1/2 lengths. She hasn't run since but has worked steadily. Roman Chapa rides.

Berriesfromheaven is back for another shot at Stealth Cat. She invaded from Southern California for the El Paso Times, and was sent off the 8-5 favorite off a series of solid stakes tries, including a victory in Anoakia Oct. 21 at Santa Anita. She chased Stealth Cat all the way around to be second, more than six lengths clear of third. Michael Ziegler has the call again for trainer Dwain Grissom.