09/26/2003 12:00AM

Wacky Patty in odd BC prep


It's not every day that a $40,000 stakes serves as a springboard to the Breeders' Cup, but that will be the case for Wacky Patty on Sunday when she starts in the Delta Miss at Louisiana Downs in Bossier City, La. The six-furlong race for 2-year-old fillies will be her last stop before the $1 million Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita on Oct. 25.

Wacky Patty towers over the Delta Miss field on class, but the group is interesting because seven of the nine entered won their last start. Wacky Patty, who will break from the rail under Gerard Melancon, is coupled with Royal Pet and Amaras.

All three race for Mark Cornett, whose Turf Express ranks as North America's ninth-leading owner in wins. He purchased Wacky Patty in July from owner-trainer James Chapman after her win in the Grade 3 Landaluce at Hollywood Park. Overall, she has won 3 of 4 races and $137,569, and on Sunday will be making her first start for Cornett and trainer Cole Norman.

"I had her bought going into the [Landaluce], but it was a holiday weekend and we couldn't get it done," said Cornett. "Luckily, we held the deal together until the following day."

Wacky Patty has made all of her starts in sprints, all at Hollywood Park. She won her debut April 30, then won the $80,000 Nursery on May 11. She finished a troubled fourth in the $84,000 Cinderella on June 8, but a month later was back in the winner's circle in the Landaluce.

The decision to prep her for the 1 1/16-mile Juvenile Fillies in a small, one-turn race was made for several reasons, said Cornett, who opted to give Wacky Patty three months between starts when he bought her and shipped her to Louisiana Downs.

"We looked for a two-turn race, but couldn't find anything I wanted to run in off a 90-day layoff," he said. "The purse isn't important to me. It's conditioning, building her confidence, and having her fresh going into the [Breeders' Cup].

"A lot of these fillies have banged themselves up over the past 60 days, and I didn't want to have that happen to her. We mapped this out the day we bought her."

Norman believes Wacky Patty, a daughter of Formal Dinner and a Fly So Free mare, will handle the added distance in the Juvenile Fillies.

Other contenders in the Delta Miss include Royal Pet and Goodies Galore, who each ran second in stakes in their latest starts.