03/11/2005 1:00AM

Unbeaten Kresgeville faces toughest test


Kresgeville, a decisive winner of her first two starts, will get the biggest challenge of her young career when she faces 10 rivals in the $40,000 Cactus Cup for 3-year-old fillies Sunday at Turf Paradise going 6 1/2 furlongs.

Despite impressive victories in both a maiden and a first-level allowance, Kresgeville might not be favored in the Cactus Cup, which attracted three stakes winners and another horse that is stakes-placed.

Though she lacks the experience of some of her rivals, Kresgeville has already shown ability to overcome adversity. After hopping at the break and conceding the leaders more than seven lengths in her allowance race, Kresgeville still motored home a winner by more than five lengths in sloppy going, earning a 76 Beyer Speed Figure.

The probable favorite in the Cactus Cup is Lady Bertrando, who in her last start finished a close second behind Memorette in the California Breeders' Champion Stakes at Santa Anita on Dec. 27. Earlier, Lady Bertrando won the ATBA Sales and Ms. Gibson County stakes at Turf Paradise. She is trained by Dan McFarlane.

Also in the Cactus Cup field is Virden, who shortens up Sunday after winning the one-mile Sun Devil Stakes and finishing second in the Arizona Oaks.

Another contender is Luck and Fame, an improving filly who has won 2 of 3 starts. Her only off-the-board finish was in the Cinderella Stakes at Hollywood Park last June.