08/27/2009 12:00AM

Black Mamba should romp in handicap

Benoit & Associates
"If she's tailing off we can find out now," trainer John Sadler said of Black Mamba, "but I don't think that's the case."

DEL MAR, Calif. - The $85,000 CTT and TOC Handicap at Del Mar on Friday should be an easy task for Black Mamba, the multiple graded stakes winner.

But her last-place finish in the at Hollywood Park on June 28. Even trainer John Sadler is hesitant to predict victory in Friday's race, which is run at 1 3/8 miles on turf for fillies and mares.

"It was my inclination off the flat race to run her back," Sadler said. "The pessimistic view is if she's tailing off we can find out now, but I don't think that's the case."

Sadler said the other option is to keep Black Mamba sidelined until early October, and wait for the $300,000 Yellow Ribbon Stakes at Santa Anita on Oct. 10.

A winner of 5 of 27 starts and $816,351 for Doubledown Stables, Black Mamba was beaten 5 1/2 lengths by Dynaforce in the Beverly D. Following that race, she was sent back to Del Mar and worked under jockey Mike Smith last Sunday, going five furlongs on turf in 1:01.60.

"Mike was on her and he thought her energy was good," Sadler said.

Black Mamba has excelled in races at 1 1/8 miles on turf or beyond, making the CTT and TOC Handicap an ideal fit. She will be heavily favored in a field of six, and is the only graded stakes winner in the field.

Gloria Goodbody was second in the at Churchill Downs on July 5, but was only eighth in the restricted Osunitas Handicap here on July 26. Wine and Dyne and Rosa Grace are seeking their first wins of the year, while Lemon Chiffon, an allowance race winner at Santa Anita in April, was third in the Grade 2 Distaff Turf Mile at Churchill Downs in May.

Bel Air Sizzle has mixed form. She was seventh in the Grade 1 John Mabee Stakes on Aug. 16, but won the Valentine Dancer Handicap for statebred females in February. Friday's race is her first start at 1 3/8 miles on turf.

"We've always wanted to try her longer," trainer Barry Abrams said.

He realizes that Bel Air Sizzle may be overmatched, saying, "If Black Mamba is 80 percent, she should win."