07/15/2008 11:00PM

Atka will try to rally in CTBA


DEL MAR, Calif. - Atka was overmatched when she finished fourth in the Landaluce Stakes at Hollywood Park last month. The same is unlikely to apply when she appears in Friday's $125,000 California Thoroughbred Breeders Association Stakes at Del Mar.

Instead of facing the best 2-year-old fillies in Southern California, Atka will be part of a field of 10 California-bred fillies in the CTBA Stakes, which is run over 5 1/2 furlongs.

"I think this race will fit her better," owner-trainer Mike Harrington said.

None of the CTBA entrants has won a stakes; three are still maidens. The race includes Listisimo, who was fifth in the Landaluce Stakes, and the impressive maiden race winners Streamin Heat, Ten Churros, and Wendoffer.

Atka has 1 victory in 3 starts, a maiden race against open company at Hollywood Park in April. She followed with a second in the 5 1/2-furlong Cinderella Stakes on May 25. In the six-furlong Landaluce Stakes, she finished 9 1/2 lengths behind race winner Emmy Darling, never threatening the leaders.

"I guess she got outrun," Harrington said. "I thought the added distance would help, but it didn't help."

Harrington is encouraged by the presence of several quick fillies that could provide a pace for Atka to follow. Streamin Heat, who won a maiden race for statebred fillies by three lengths at Hollywood Park on June 5, and Ten Churros, who won a maiden claimer, are likely to lead.

"My filly wants to come from off the pace," Harrington said. "She doesn't want to lay close."

Listisimo could not overcome a poor start in the Landaluce, finishing fifth.

"It was better than working her three times," trainer Gary Sherlock said. "I thought I'd be a little closer. She came out of it well, so maybe it will work out."

The race includes a rare shipper for a statebred race in Saucey Evening, who won a five-furlong turf race for maidens at Colonial Downs on June 20. Trained by Graham Motion, Saucey Evening has been in training on a synthetic surface at the Fair Hill training center in Maryland. Del Mar has a synthetic surface as well.

"I thought she was very impressive when she won," Motion said. "She handles the [synthetic track] well here at Fair Hill. I'm hoping it's something comparable."