02/09/2008 1:00AM

Brazilian imports make U.S. debuts


ARCADIA, Calif. - In a racing rarity, Colina Verde and Immortelle, the respective winners of the 2006 and 2007 Brazilian Oaks, make their American debuts in the same race at Santa Anita on Monday, a $65,000 allowance race over a mile on turf.

Their trainers warn that their imports may need a start to be at their best. Monday's race has drawn a field of six, including the minor stakes winners Grat and Private Banking.

Colina Verde, owned by a partnership and trained by Neil Drysdale, is making her first start in 16 months. She won the Group 1 Brazilian Oaks (Grande Premio Diana) at Ciudad Jardim in October 2006.

"She's been training well," Drysdale said. "Obviously, she's been away from the races for a while. I think she'll be competitive" Monday.

A 5-year-old mare, Colina Verde has won four consecutive races, a streak that includes two other Group 1 races in Brazil, including the 2006 Brazilian 1000 Guineas.

Typical of many Drysdale runners, Colina Verde has not recorded flashy workout times for her comeback.

Immortelle won the Brazilian Oaks when the race was run at Gavea in March 2007. She finished second in one subsequent start, a Group 1 last May, and was sent to the United States a month later, according to trainer Paulo Lobo. Owned by TNT Stud, Immortelle, 5, has won 3 of 7 starts.

Lobo warns that Monday's race may be too short for Immortelle.

"I think longer distance should suit her better," he said. "I think she has been training very well, going five-eighths and three-quarters."

In the spring, Lobo expects Immortelle to race in stakes such as the Santa Barbara Handicap over 1 1/4 miles on turf.

A native of Brazil, Lobo fears Colina Verde.

"She's a very nice filly," he said. "She is the filly to beat."

The American team includes the New York shipper Nedjma, who was unplaced in two New York-bred stakes in the second half of 2007. Now trained by Eduardo Inda, Nedjma is seeking her fourth career win and trying to end a three-race losing streak.

Trainer Paddy Gallagher has two starters - Anamanor and Grat - both of whom ran poorly in their last starts. Grat won the minor Glendale Handicap at Turf Paradise in January 2007.

Private Banking is ideally suited to the distance. Trained by Ron McAnally, she won the Autumn Leaves Handicap over 1 1/16 miles at Bay Meadows last October and was fifth in the Intercontinental Handicap at Hollywood Park in November.