02/08/2006 12:00AM

Calkins Road in step two of comeback


ARCADIA, Calif. - Nagging injuries have limited the 7-year-old Calkins Road to 19 starts in his career. Along the way, he has still earned $515,665, most of which was collected in 2002, when he won the Snow Chief Stakes and California Cup Classic.

Friday at Santa Anita, makes the second race of his latest comeback in a $65,000 allowance race at 1 1/16 miles.

Owned by Tom and Debbie Shapiro and trained by John Shirreffs, Calkins Road is winless in his last three starts, dating back to the Joseph Grace Handicap at the Sonoma County Fair in Santa Rosa in August 2004.

He missed most of 2005 because of injury, returning on Dec. 28 to finish seventh in an allowance race at a mile on turf.

"He ran okay," Shirreffs said. "He didn't get beat that far. I thought for a comeback race it was okay. He's trained very well. We'll see if he can step it up a notch."

Friday's race has drawn six entrants and has an unusual condition, restricted to nonwinners of a graded stakes in North America at a mile or farther since Sept. 1. Choctaw Nation, trained by Jeff Mullins, is the most prominent member of the field, having earned $1.1 million.

He won the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap at Del Mar last July. A winner of 6 of 14 starts and 3 of 5 at this track, has made one start at this meeting, finishing seventh in the Grade 2 San Gabriel Handicap on turf on Jan. 1. He was sixth in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Belmont Park in October.

Mullins has stated that Choctaw Nation is being pointed for the $1 million Godolphin Mile in Dubai on March 25.

With that race as a primary goal, Choctaw Nation may not have the best chance of the Mullins-trained runners in Friday's race. Mullins also starts Stormin Away, who will be making a quick turnaround after finishing second in an optional claimer at a mile on turf Feb. 2.

The other entrants are , Snorter, and Tobe Suave.

Coronado's Pride is coming off a two-length win as the favorite in an optional claimer at 1 1/16 miles on Jan. 11. He has won three of his last four starts, all in front-running style.

Snorter and Tobe Suave are coupled as an entry owned by Ross McLeod and trained by Roger Stein. Snorter will be making his first start since finishing 11th in the Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs last August.