05/07/2008 11:00PM

Sweeter Still in strong spot


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - When Sweeter Still lost the Grade 2 Providencia Stakes by a nose on April 5, she missed out on a second consecutive stakes win but gained even more respect from trainer Jeff Mullins.

"That's a 14-hand horse with a 17-hand heart," Mullins said.

The diminutive Sweeter Still is best at a mile on turf, which makes her the probable favorite in Saturday's $100,000 Senorita Stakes at Hollywood Park. From a talent and tactical standpoint, Sweeter Still may have advantages in the Grade 3 Senorita. She has already won a stakes this year, the China Doll Stakes over a mile on turf at Santa Anita on March 1, and is best when stalking the pace.

The one-mile distance of the Senorita is an ideal fit at this point in Sweeter Still's career.

"I'm not sure I want to try farther than that," Mullins said.

Owned by David Lanzman and Jason Wood, Sweeter Still has won 2 of 5 starts and $118,757. She began her career in Ireland and has raced for Mullins since last fall.

The Senorita Stakes, the seventh race on a 10-race program, has drawn a field of 11, but will not have that many starters. Trainer Craig Dollase said earlier this week that P.S.U. Grad will be pointed for Sunday's $100,000 Railbird Stakes on the main track.

Bel Air Sizzle, who ran twice during the opening week of the meeting, will not start, trainer Barry Abrams said. She will be pointed for the Golden Poppy Handicap at Golden Gate Fields on May 18.

Decorator, who is making her stakes debut, could be a factor. She may race near the front in search of her third consecutive win. Trained by Richard Mandella, Decorator won a maiden race and an optional claimer on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita earlier this year.

"We're hoping that she'll track well enough to go two turns," Mandella said.

Gorgeous Goose has lost to Sweeter Still twice, finishing third in the China Doll and fourth in the Providencia. Trainer Mike Puype is banking on a fast pace to help Gorgeous Goose's late kick.

Gorgeous Goose won the Blue Norther Stakes over a mile on turf at Santa Anita last December in her stakes debut.

"She hasn't had any pace to run at," Puype said, referring to her last two starts.

In the Providencia, "I thought she got bogged behind a soft pace," he said. "She got beat 1 1/4 lengths. They weren't stopping. All she has to do is step up a notch and she'll be right there."