12/11/2008 12:00AM

Will O Way stands out on class


ALBANY, Calif. - Saturday's $75,000 Corte Madera at Golden Gate Fields gives handicappers a chance to project possible improvement as they survey a field of six 2-year-old fillies going one mile.

Two of the runners have never attempted two turns. One is a stakes winner at the distance. One has won twice at the distance but on the turf and against claiming company. One ran her highest-rated race in her lone start going 1 1/16 miles.

Then there's Will O Way, seeking her first win since capturing her July 27 debut at Calder.

Since then she has run third in the Del Mar Debutante, losing to likely 2-year-old champion Stardom Bound. She also finished sixth behind Stardom Bound in the Grade 1 Oak Leaf. Will O Way then ran fifth in the $111,000 Moccasin at Hollywood Park on Nov. 18 after a nearly seven-week layoff.

Her lowest career Beyer Speed Figure matches the best of any other runner in the Corte Madera field. While she has only one work in the month since the Moccasin, it was a solid six-furlong drill that indicates she maintains her conditioning.

Will O Way also has recency over her two stakes-winning rivals.

Epitome of a Lady, who has won 3 of 4 starts, will make her first start since winning the Harvest Futurity at Fresno on Oct. 10.

Cherokee Echo, who has won 2 of her 3 starts, runs for the first time since winning the Barbara Shinpoch at one mile at Emerald Downs on Aug. 31.

Have Epitome of a Lady and Cherokee Echo improved enough to challenge the consistent Will O Way, who gets the services of leading rider Russell Baze?

Epitome of a Lady has worked steadily for Jerry Hollendorfer, including five six-furlong works that should have her fit for her first try at a mile.

Cherokee Echo also has a steady work tab for trainer Bud Klokstad since her arrival here.

Salty Sarah, a daughter of Bertrando who should love the distance and recorded her best Beyer when fifth in the 1 1/16-mile Cal Cup Juvenile Filly on Oct. 5, also merits respect.

Digestivo, a stablemate of Epitome of a Lady, is the only runner other than Will O Way to top 70 on the Beyer scale.

Mean Joleene has two turf wins at the distance but faces the toughest competition of her career.