03/23/2012 3:10PM

Sunland Park: Princess Arabella faces Glinda the Good in Oaks

Shigeki Kikkawa
Princess Arabella makes her stakes and two-turn debut in the Sunland Park Oaks.

The connections of Princess Arabella on Sunday will be following a path to the Kentucky Oaks that worked for them last year when they start their undefeated filly in the $200,000 Sunland Park Oaks. It was in this race a year ago that Peachtree Stable, trainer Bob Baffert, and jockey Martin Garcia sent out Plum Pretty for a 25-length win in advance of her victory in the Kentucky Oaks.

Sunday’s race, which will be run over a mile and a sixteenth, is part of a seven-stakes card at Sunland Park. The races are worth a cumulative $1.6 million, with the program being led by the Grade 3, $800,000 Sunland Derby. The Sunland Oaks goes as the 11th of 13 races, with a scheduled post of 5:13 p.m. Mountain. Forecasters are calling for partly cloudy skies Sunday, and temperatures in the high 80s.

Princess Arabella, a Triple Crown nominee making both her stakes and two-turn debut off two dominant wins at Santa Anita, is part of a seven-horse field in the Sunland Oaks. The chief threat appears to be Glinda the Good, who has run well against some of the top 3-year-old fillies in training. She was the runner-up to Grace Hall in the $75,000 Blue Hen at Delaware Park in October, then ran third to On Fire Baby in the Grade 2 Pocahontas at Churchill Downs in November.

Glinda the Good opened her 3-year-old season last month at Sunland with a more than three-length win in the $50,000 Island Fashion, the local prep for the Oaks. She covered the mile in a sharp 1:37.20 and for the effort earned a career-high Beyer Figure of 83.

“This seems like a very good spot for her,” said Steve Asmussen, who trains Glinda the Good for Stonestreet Stables. “Having the success over the track at Sunland bodes well for her, and she’s got some nice ability. She really does.”

Glinda the Good is a daughter of Hard Spun and a half-sister to the Grade 3 winner Take the Ribbon. Julien Leparoux has the mount on the filly, who could get a stalking trip behind Princess Arabella, who will break from post 3, and Sophisticated, who won a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight wire to wire earlier this month at Sunland.

Princess Arabella is by Any Given Saturday, winner of the Grade 1 Haskell at a mile and an eighth in 2007. She enters the Sunland Oaks off a 3 1/2-length win in a first-level allowance at seven furlongs on Feb.  12. For the effort, Princess Arabella equaled her debut Beyer Figure of 85. Princess Arabella is a half-sister to two-turn stakes winner Dyna’s Lassie.