11/05/2004 12:00AM

Two Europeans offer possibilities


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Two new shooters from Europe enliven the $60,000 Audrey Skirball-Kenis Stakes on Sunday at Hollywood Park, where a solid cast entered the nine-furlong turf race for 3-year-old fillies.

arrived from France one month ago with a 4-for-14 record and several close finishes in listed stakes, an indication she is well spotted in her U.S. debut. But her trainer, Leonard Powell, said, "The race looks very tough for a $60,000 stake."

Or is it?

A key defection and a dull comeback by a top contender suggest otherwise. Mea Domina beat several Skirball-Kenis entrants in a $100,000 stakes last out, but she will not run. summer form stands out, but she finished a dull fifth in her comeback for trainer Jeff Mullins, whose stable has been hit particularly hard by injury. Typically a 30 percent trainer, Mullins has won with 15 percent of his Southern California starters since Oct. 1.

A likely favorite Sunday is , who finished second behind Mea Domina last out. While a similar effort by Penny's Fortune might be good enough to win, the 1 1/8-mile distance provides a challenge. Two others who finished behind Penny's Fortune entered: Shake Off and Lovely Rafaela. The Skirball-Kenis field includes Taygete, stepping up after a better-than-looked fourth in a two-other-than allowance. Seeking the Heart and Broad Minded scored modest one-other-than wins.

If the local cast is suspect, bettors can look closely at Belle Ange and Megec Blis. Megec Blis arrived Wednesday from Ireland, and while her 2-for-7 European form is modest, trainer Ruben Cardenas said her fourth-place finish Oct. 26 in a seven-furlong race was a mere tune-up.

"They ran her to give her a race to set her up for this race," Cardenas said, adding that Megec Blis "wants to run farther - a mile and an eighth, a mile and a quarter."

Cardenas said the filly's status for Sunday depends on results of blood tests taken Friday. If she starts, she will race with Lasix under jockey Kent Desormeaux.

Belle Ange will be ridden by Tony Farina, and will not race with Lasix.

"She has never bled," Powell said. "I don't have any reason to put her on Lasix.

"She's been doing really good."

The race is named for longtime owner and philanthropist Audrey Skirball-Kenis, who raced horses with her husband Charles Kenis under the stable name 3+U Stable until she died at age 87 in June 2002.