07/13/2009 11:00PM

Two fillies who can beat stakes colts


LEXINGTON, Ky. - There is only a single graded stakes race scheduled on Sunday. It's located at Hollywood Park, but it's far from being the most valuable race of the day. There's an ungraded stakes race at another track that's worth five times as much money. And there is an interesting stakes race later on the Hollywood card that might turn out to be the best betting race of the three.

The Grade 3 Hollywood Juvenile Championship is a six- furlong race for 2-year-olds with a $100,000 purse. The race attracted four colts and a filly. Based on the 92 Beyer she earned in a 3 3/4-length victory going five furlongs in her debut, the filly, Necessary Evil, is clearly the one to beat. Necessary Evil might not be quick enough to grab the early lead from Coo Cachoo, who ran a furlong in 11.02 seconds and two furlongs in 21.10 when he won his debut, but she figures to wear down Coo Cachoo and pull clear if she runs as fast Sunday as she did in her debut.

Necessary Evil is my selection, and the most likely winner, but she might not turn out to be the slam dunk she appears to be on paper. Young horses who run fast races first time out are sometimes vulnerable to regression when they return. And it's possible that Necessary Evil might be more vulnerable as a filly. But trainer Doug O'Neill has given her six weeks between races, which should be enough time for her to regroup.

Her stablemate Classical Slew, a 5 1/4-length winner in his debut who repeated with a victory in the Willard Proctor Memorial, looks best of the rest. Grace Upon Grace finished second behind Classical Slew last time, and is my third choice.

Two races later on the same card, the Landaluce is a six-furlong, $100,000 stakes race for 2-year-old fillies. Well Deserved is 2 for 2, including a victory in the Cinderella Stakes. Three other fillies in this field also ran in the Cinderella, finishing second, third, and fifth.

My top selection is the filly who finished second in that race. Repo broke inward sharply and lost about two lengths. She was sixth early, rallied to get on nearly even terms with Well Deserved, then was outkicked by that rival and lost by a length. Given her poor start that day, Repo was probably best. She showed that she has early speed when she led throughout in her debut. If she breaks sharply in this race she probably won't have to race as wide as she did last time. The combination of a better start and less ground lost racing wide would give her a good chance to win at a square price. Well Deserved is my second selection. I will make Champagne d'Oro, who finished third in the Cinderella, my third choice.

The race with the biggest purse of the day is the $500,000 Prince of Wales, a 1 3/16-mile stakes race restricted to 3-year-old Canadian-breds, run at Fort Erie. Although only six horses are competing, it figures to be a very interesting race because it features the first three finishers from the $1 million Queen's Plate. They were separated by only a neck and a head at the finish three weeks ago.

Eye of the Leopard appeared to be beaten in midstretch, but rallied to catch the tiring leader and prevailed by a neck for his third straight victory from four career starts. Mr. Foricos Two U set most of the pace, and appeared to be en route to a victory in midstretch, but he tired significantly during the last furlong and finished second. Milwaukee Appeal is a filly who made a nice late bid as the leader was fading, and was going well at the end when she finished third, a head behind Mr. Foricos Two U.

Visually, the Queen's Plate appeared to be a very hard-fought, energy-sapping race. Eye of the Leopard won while making only his fourth career start. He shows ascending Beyers in all three of his races since his debut. Mr. Foricos Two U finished second while making only his fifth career start. He also shows steadily ascending Beyers in all of his races since his debut. Both of these lightly raced horses have the potential to regress just three weeks after that tough race.

Although third-place finisher Milwaukee Appeal is a filly, she is battle-tested and has a strong foundation with 10 career starts spread out over more than a year. She is also the only member of the Queen's Plate field running in this race who didn't earn a career-best Beyer in the Queen's Plate. Milwaukee Appeal is my selection, and I'm expecting to get an overlaid price on her. I will pick Eye of the Leopard second, and Mr. Foricos Two U third.