10/01/2008 11:00PM

Bahama Mama brings solid form


ARCADIA, Calif. - The memory of Bahama Mama's disqualification from first to fourth in the Grade 3 Las Cienegas Handicap at Santa Anita last April remains vivid to trainer Jim Cassidy.

"It was ugly," he said.

The thoughts have surfaced this week as Bahama Mama returns to Santa Anita's hillside turf course for Saturday's $100,000 Sen. Ken Maddy Handicap for fillies and mares.

Since the Las Cienegas, Bahama Mama has not been worse than third in four starts, including a win in the restricted Lawndale Stakes over six furlongs on turf at Hollywood Park in May. The consistency makes Bahama Mama a leading contender, and maybe the favorite, in a remarkably wide-open running of the Grade 3 Maddy Handicap.

The field includes Queen Ofthe Catsle and Woodland City, the first two finishers of a division of the Daisycutter Handicap at Del Mar; Lightmyfirebaby, Electro Nuclear, and That's Hot, who were second through fourth in the other division of the Daisycutter; La Tee, who was third in the Grade 3 Rancho Bernardo Handicap in August; and the multiple stakes winner Victorina.

Bahama Mama, owned by Forging Oaks Farm, is dropping back in distance, having won a one-mile optional claimer on turf by 2 3/4 lengths on Aug. 11 under jockey David Flores. She led throughout that race, taking command by two lengths on the final turn.

"David rides her with so much confidence it scares me," Cassidy said. "He opened up on them and kept going."

Cassidy does not think that Bahama Mama will show the same antics that led to her disqualification. In the Las Cienegas, she drifted out when the field crossed over the main track and was ruled to have caused interference. Cassidy thinks that Bahama Mama shied from a piece of equipment laying next to the turf course.

"She's never done anything like that for me," he said.

Bahama Mama will be near the front, as will La Tee, trained by Mark Glatt. La Tee has placed in four stakes this year and is searching for her first stakes win. She starts from post 2, which discouraged Glatt.

"I'd like to see her come from off of it," Glatt said. "That's a bad spot to be coming off the hill. I don't know what I can do from the 2 hole."

The faster the pace, the more trainer Howard Zucker expects from Queen Ofthe Catsle, who won her first stakes in the five-furlong Daisycutter. Owned by C.T. Grether, Queen Ofthe Catsle has won 3 of her last 4 starts, with the only loss a second by a neck in an optional claimer in July.

Saturday's race will be the first time that Mike Smith has ridden Queen Ofthe Catsle, replacing Victor Espinoza, who is traveling.

"I've got a Hall of Famer on my horse," Zucker said of Smith. Queen Ofthe Catsle "needs a target in the stretch. She's really come around in the last four races. Victor taught her to be patient."