Updated on 09/16/2011 6:57AM

You: From an acorn to Oaks

Benoit & Associates
You (inside) lost to Habibti in the Hollywood Starlet. She since has beaten Habibti in the Las Virgenes, and they face off again in Saturday's Santa Anita Oaks.

ARCADIA, Calif. - You, the overachiever of trainer Bobby Frankel's barn, can book a ticket to the Kentucky Oaks with a strong performance in Saturday's $300,000 .

Since she was purchased privately last summer by Edmund Gann, You has become a pleasant surprise for Frankel, scoring victories in three important races - the Adirondack Stakes at Saratoga last summer, the Grade 1 Frizette Stakes at Belmont Park last fall, and the Grade 1 Las Virgenes Stakes at Santa Anita last month.

"I thought she'd be a decent filly," Frankel said. "I didn't know she'd be one of the best fillies in the country."

You will be favored to win the Santa Anita Oaks, which is run over 1 1/16 miles. The lucrative purse and Grade 1 status resulted in nine 3-year-old fillies being entered on Thursday.

The field includes Habibti, who beat You in the Grade 1 Starlet Stakes at Hollywood Park in December; Lady George, the rags-to-riches California-bred who was bought for $2,500 as a weanling and has won three stakes and $303,416; and Adoration, an impressive maiden winner on Feb. 21.

You and Habibti will dominate the betting and are expected to dominate the race. Habibti beat You by a head in the Hollywood Starlet, and there was only a length between them in the Las Virgenes, when the order was reversed.

Both fillies figure to get good trips, stalking the pace.

Adoration, trained by David Hofmans, is expected to be close to the front. She led throughout in an eight-length win in a one-mile maiden race on Feb. 21.

Adoration may be pressed by the longshot Ile de France, who finished second in a one-mile allowance race on turf on Feb. 9, and Respectful, the pacesetter in the Las Virgenes, who faded to finish fourth.

Habibti has never shown much speed. Last summer, she came from behind to win a maiden race over 5 1/2 furlongs at Del Mar and used the same tactics successfully in the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante over seven furlongs. Trainer Bob Baffert was disappointed in the Las Virgenes result and expects improvement from Habibti Saturday.

Habibti, who will be ridden by Victor Espinoza, breaks from post 8.

"She'll run better," Baffert said. "She trained just okay before her last race. She had little things wrong and lost weight on me.

"Victor said she was lethargic. He said she ran second because she's a good filly."

You was always in front of Habibti in the Las Virgenes, but gave her backers several anxious moments. Fifth early, she engaged the leaders on the backstretch five wide under Jerry Bailey. With a half-mile remaining, she was still fifth, but only a half-length off the lead.

The wide rally continued around the final turn and into the stretch when You took the lead. She drew clear in the final furlong, leaving Frankel impressed.

"She ran great," Frankel said. "She's as good as she's ever been."

A win by any starter but You or Habibti would be a shock.

Of the other seven, only Dancing has won a graded stakes, the Grade 2 Santa Ynez Stakes in her United States debut on

Jan. 21. She raced most recently of any of the entrants, having finished unplaced in the La Habra Stakes on the hillside turf course on March 1. The Santa Anita Oaks will be the first time Dancing has faced You or Habibti.

Frankel said this is an important race for You, because she will not start again until the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on May 3.

"This will be it," Frankel said. "She likes to have time between races."

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