02/26/2009 12:00AM

Amazing back versus easier foes


OLDSMAR, Fla. - Amazing had a three-race win streak snapped when sixth in the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Distaff at Santa Anita in her 2009 debut last time out. She returns to East Coast action Saturday as the solid favorite in a field of eight fillies and mares entered in the $65,000 Wayward Lass Stakes at 1 1/16 miles over the main track here.

Moon Catcher, a Grade 2 stakes winner earlier in her career, will make her first start since August in the race. Trainer Christophe Clement sends out the seven-time winner, and meet-leading rider Daniel Centeno will be aboard.

Star Operator, who has been in the thick of things in both the Manatee and Minaret Stakes for the Kirk Ziadie barn here this meet, moves to a middle distance and deserves consideration.

Amazing came to life last fall at Calder, winning an optional allowance route. She came back in an overnight handicap stakes that was taken off the turf and led from start to finish in an upset at 10-1.

Facing statebreds next in the Heubeck Distaff Handicap, again at Calder, Amazing led from flag fall to finish, holding on to win by a nose.

Off from November to January, Amazing shipped to Santa Anita and took on top company in the Sunshine Millions Distaff. Breaking from the tough post 11, she was unable to use her early speed, and despite making a middle move she weakened to finish seven lengths behind race winner Leah's Secret at 31-1.

Amazing appears to be the dominant speed Saturday, and the horse to beat.

Moon Catcher won the Susan's Girl Breeders' Cup at Delaware as a 3-year-old, then came back to score an upset at 9-1 in the Grade 2 Delaware Oaks, leading from start to finish. The 5-year-old has won only an overnight stakes at Calder since then. But she has the speed to be in contention from the start Saturday.

Star Operator ran second to favored Rising Fever in the seven-furlong Manatee and was just a length behind graded-stakes winner Dream Rush in the six-furlong Minaret in her first two starts for Ziadie.

Striking Tomisue won her last start, against optional allowance foes at Gulftream, while Coffee Can has had two solid efforts against top company over the turf this meeting and could be part of this picture at good odds.

Jeremy Bridgmohan will ride Striking Tomisue for trainer Nick Zito, while Ronnie Allen Jr. returns aboard Coffee Can for trainer Gerald Bennett.