07/17/2008 11:00PM

Ace 2007 filly sprinter Spring Awakening returns


DEL MAR, Calif. - Spring Awakening was named champion California-bred 2-year-old filly of 2007 because of her sprint form. She won two stakes at seven furlongs and finished second in the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante at that distance.

Ankle injuries kept Spring Awakening from racing through the winter and spring, but trainer Mike Mitchell is confident that she can win her 2008 debut in Sunday's $100,000 Fleet Treat Stakes for 3-year-old statebred fillies at Del Mar.

A winner of 3 of 6 starts and $251,662, Spring Awakening will be running at seven furlongs for the fourth time in her career in the Fleet Treat. Her recent workouts here and at Hollywood Park suggest to Mitchell she is ready for a top effort in her comeback.

"She's just a good filly," he said. "She needed a good break, and she's coming back strong. She's galloping out strong in her workouts."

Spring Awakening won the Moccasin Stakes against open company at Hollywood Park last November and the fillies division of the California Breeders' Champion Stakes at Santa Anita last December before she was taken out of training. Both races were at seven furlongs.

"She had ankles on her that would have been a problem," Mitchell said. "We have had this race in mind for her first race back."

Spring Awakening's main rival is Lethal Heat, a winner of 4 of 6 starts and $254,028.

Trained by Barry Abrams, Lethal Heat was sixth as the 9-5 favorite in the Flawlessly Stakes on turf at Hollywood Park on July 4. Abrams blamed the loss on Lethal Heat's "rambunctious behavior" before the race.

Lethal Heat won the Grade 3 Santa Paula Stakes on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita in March and the Grade 2 Hollywood Oaks over 1 1/16 miles on June 8. Abrams has the $400,000 Del Mar Oaks on Aug. 16 as a long-term goal for Lethal Heat.

Several other fillies have the credentials to run well in the Fleet Treat. Final Fling won the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel Stakes at Santa Anita in January. Gambler's Justice finished first in Melair Stakes at Hollywood Park in April, but was demoted to third for causing interference in the stretch. Quisisana won her debut in a quick time last December, but has not started since.