02/17/2006 1:00AM

Cambiocorsa loves the hillside

Benoit & Associates
Cambiocorsa's win on Wednesday makes her 5 for 5 on Santa Anita's hillside course.

ARCADIA, Calif. - The hillside course at Santa Anita seems to belong to Cambiocorsa this winter.

A California-bred filly, Cambiocorsa stretched her unbeaten streak over the course to five on Wednesday with a front-running victory against open company in an optional claimer worth $78,700. The performance was an ideal prep for the $125,000 Irish O'Brien Stakes for statebred fillies and mares on the hillside turf course on March 17.

"I wish they ran down the hill all year round," said her trainer, Doug O'Neill.

Owned by Ty and Lee Leatherman and bred by John and Diane Fradkin, Cambiocorsa was purchased for $90,000 by the Leathermans at the 2004 Barretts May sale of 2-year-olds in training. She has won 5 of 10 starts and $212,480. Away from Santa Anita's hillside turf course, her best results have been third-place finishes in allowance races on turf at Del Mar and Hollywood Park.

By Avenue of Flags, Cambiocorsa needed time to develop. She finished last of 12 in her debut, a maiden race in August 2004, but rebounded to win twice last year at 3.

"When we first started her, she was more nervous than you wanted a horse to be," O'Neill said. "Then she had a shin problem. She's getting a little older and mentally she's calmed down. We could have ruined her if we didn't get her right mentally and physically."

At this meet, Cambiocorsa has been brilliant. She won a first-condition allowance race on Jan. 22 and came back seven days later to win the Wishing Well Handicap.

In Wednesday's race, she set a quick pace and pulled away to win by 4 3/4 lengths. Reforest, the winner of the 2004 Pennsylvania Oaks, was second, followed by Berbatim, the winner of the Grade 3 Providencia at Santa Anita last April.

O'Neill insists that Cambiocorsa thrives on racing.

"A lot of running her back quickly has been a positive for her," he said. "The more fresh she is, the more high strung she can be. The most I walk a horse after they run is three, four, or five days, but I have her back to the track two days after she runs."

Cambiocorsa is out of the Afleet mare Ultrafleet, 14. Ultrafleet was winless in four starts. As a broodmare, Ultrafleet has six runners and three winners. Cambiocorsa became Ultrafleet's first stakes winner when she won the Wishing Well Handicap. Cambiocorsa's half-brother Shadow Raider, who is by Memo, has won 9 of 37 starts and $246,214 and placed in two stakes.

O'Neill gave the Leathermans credit for picking Cambiocorsa out of the 2004 sale. "Ty and Lee pulled the trigger on her," he said.

Five offspring of In Excess at Barretts

The Barretts March sale of 2-year-olds in training will be held on March 14 and includes 34 California-breds among the 181 horses cataloged.

The California-breds consist of 20 colts and 14 fillies. There are statebred colts by first-crop stallions Came Home, Johannesburg, Red Bullet, Skimming, Street Cry, and Tribal Rule.

In Excess, annually among the leading stallions in California, is represented by five 2-year-olds, the most among statebreds. The list of In Excess 2-year-olds include a full-sister to Excessivepleasure, the 2003 statebred champion 3-year-old male and a four-time stakes winner.

There are two statebreds in the sale by Broken Vow, Devon Lane, Siberian Summer, and Swiss Yodeler.

In 2005, there were 27 California-breds in the March catalog. The group included Brother Derek, a top contender for the Kentucky Derby. He was purchased last year for $275,000 by Cecil Peacock.