01/15/2011 7:37PM

Santa Anita: A sweet sprinter


California Nectar stretched her stakes winning streak to two races with a frontrunning win in the Grade 2 Santa Ynez Stakes over seven furlongs in Saturday's sixth race.

California Nectar set a brisk pace - 22.02 and 44.34 seconds - and held off a late run from the 6-5 favorite Zazu to win by a neck.

At the least, California Nectar is a strong sprinter, having won three races over six and seven furlongs, including the California Breeders' Champion Stakes over seven furlongs here on Dec. 26. She lost two two-turn races at Hollywood Park in the fall - finishing second by a nose in the California Cup Juvenile Fillies and fourth in the Miesque Stakes, her only start on turf.

She deserves another try in such races, though the chances for a win are difficult in the short-term. The next race in the division is the Grade 1 Las Virgenes Stakes for 3-year-old fillies over a mile on Feb. 5, a race expected to draw Turbulent Descent, the undefeated winner of the Hollywood Starlet Stakes last month.

Still, owner Pablo Suarez and trainer Doug O'Neill must consider that race for California Nectar. She can be effective at a longer trip, especiallly if jockey Patrick Valenzuela can coax her into relaxing - even for a little while.