Updated on 09/15/2011 12:17PM

Two stakes fillies fight round 3


AUBURN, Wash. - Best Judgement and Shandra Smiles, who have traded decisions in the first two stakes for 3-year-old fillies at the Emerald Downs meeting, will clash for the third time in Sunday's $45,000 Kent Handicap at a mile.

Best Judgement, who was last season's juvenile filly champ, picked up where she left off by winning the six-furlong U. S. Bank Stakes by three-quarters of a length over Shandra Smiles on opening weekend. The latter tied the score with a front-running win in the 6 1/2-furlong Federal Way Handicap on May 6, when Best Judgement was beaten five lengths while checking in third.

The budding rivalry resumes at a mile on Sunday, and it's difficult to determine which of the fillies will benefit most from the added distance. Best Judgement finished a well-beaten fifth in her only route try last year when she took on males in the rich Gottstein Futurity at 1 1/16 miles. She may have been compromised by a sloppy track that day, and her trainer, Doris Harwood, remains confident her charge will excel at route distances.

Shandra Smiles, who will carry Gallyn Mitchell at 120 pounds, will be attempting a route of ground for the first time. The Steve Bullock-trained daughter of Cahill Road, who won the nine-furlong Wood Memorial at age 3, has the look and breeding of a distance horse, and she may have the advantage of a clear lead in the Kent.

Only three fillies have signed up to challenge the divisional leaders. Que Facil Corazon, Silver Echo, and Anita Maria have all placed in sprint stakes, but none has raced beyond 6 1/2 furlongs.