03/07/2007 12:00AM

Beyond the Mark just getting good


ARCADIA, Calif. - Despite the modest start to her career, Beyond the Mark has convinced trainer Tim Yakteen that she can develop into a stakes-caliber filly.

That opinion would have been hard to believe when Beyond the Mark was getting crushed in sprints against maiden claimers last year. But since stretching out to two turns, she is unbeaten in two starts.

On Friday at Santa Anita, Beyond the Mark starts in an optional claimer over a mile for California-bred 3-year-old fillies. The race could serve as a prep for the $200,000 Melair Stakes at Hollywood Park on April 29.

"The way she won her last race, she keeps improving," Yakteen said.

Yakteen was impressed by Beyond the Mark's win in a starter allowance on Feb. 10. Against five rivals, she disputed the lead for the first six furlongs, took over in early stretch, and pulled away to win by

2 1/2 lengths.

"She was three wide on the pace and when she hit the lead she kind of threw her ears forward again," Yakteen said. "I think the win was easier than it looked."

Owned by Ashby Thoroughbreds, Beyond the Mark has turned out to be a bargain. Purchased for $6,000 as a yearling in October 2005, she has earned $33,980. The first-place purse in Friday's race is $33,000.

"We've been wanting to stretch her out," Yakteen said. "Once we did, she kind of answered the question that she could be able to route."

Beyond the Mark has five rivals in Friday's race, none of whom has placed in stakes. Beyond the Mark is the only filly in the field with a victory in her last start.

There will be support for Tonja's World, who finished fourth in an allowance race against open company over a mile on turf on Feb. 1. Trained by Clifford Sise, Tonja's World was fourth in the California Cup Juvenile Fillies last October and beat maidens in a one-mile race at Del Mar last September.

Short Sentence is making her first start at a mile. Owned and trained by Mike Harrington, she finished third in a sprint for statebred fillies on Feb. 19.

There are eight races on Friday's card, and the seventh race is an optional claimer for older fillies and mares over a mile on turf. The race lacks a standout, but Blue Cay and Mamita Chula will be well backed.

Blue Cay, entered for a $32,000 claiming price, beat similar rivals at Hollywood Park in December. Mamita Chula has run third in each of her last four starts.