05/30/2006 11:00PM

Canani barn far from jinxed

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Memorette, winning the Fran's Valentine, will go in the Grade 2 Milady.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - For once, things are going well at trainer Julio Canani's barn. The flamboyant trainer has been known to panic on a moment's notice and rue that his luck has turned south, certain never to improve.

No such thoughts are being are being stated this week. Monday at Hollywood Park, Canani won the Grade 1 Gamely Breeders' Cup Stakes with Shining Energy. An hour later, his Charmo ran a game second to Aragorn in the Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile.

That may just be the start. Sunday, Canani starts Attima in the $175,000 Honeymoon Breeders' Cup Handicap, a race the lightly raced filly is capable of winning.

The Grade 2 Honeymoon, run at 1 1/8 miles on turf for 3-year-old fillies, will be Attima's American stakes debut. She was stakes-placed in France last year before joining Canani's barn during the winter.

Her performance in a prep race last month has left Canani thrilled about her chances. In a one-mile allowance race on turf on May 10, Attima was sent off as a heavy favorite and won by 3 1/2 lengths. Ridden by Victor Espinoza, she was not expected to win by that margin.

"I told him, 'Don't hit her,' " Canani recalled on Wednesday. "I wasn't giving her one, but I didn't want to beat her up. I said, 'Don't turn her loose or nothing.' Victor said, 'I never asked her for nothing.' "

The style of that win suggests that Attima should have no trouble

with the longer distance of the Honeymoon. The race is a key test for Attima and her rivals. A big performance on Sunday could lead to a start in the $750,000 American Oaks at 1 1/4 miles on July 2, the most lucrative race for 3-year-old fillies on turf in the nation.

In France last year, Attima had 1 victory in 5 starts and was third in a Group 3 stakes. She races for Anthony Fanticola and Joseph Scardino.

All has not gone ideally for Attima since she arrived in the United States. She was entered in an allowance race at Santa Anita in February but was withdrawn after suffering a cut on her shoulder when she became excited in her stall on the morning of the race. Canani speculates that the accident occurred when Attima reacted to a loose horse zooming by her stall.

"She missed 20 days," he said. "I waited until it healed completely."

The Honeymoon has six probable starters, including Arlene, Foxysox, Galileo's Star, Harriett Lane, and Proxenia. Foxysox is unbeaten in four starts since arriving in the United States over the winter, a winning streak that includes three stakes.

Shining Energy turning into a force

Canani's stable could play a major role in turf stakes this summer.

Shining Energy is bound for the $750,000 CashCall Mile on July 1. Her victory in the at 1 1/8 miles on turf was her first at the Grade 1 level, and was a pleasant surprise to her trainer, who had considered a trip to Lone Star Park for a stakes on the same day.

"I didn't think she could run that far," Canani said. "I was glad I didn't go to Texas. It rained there like a sonofagun."

Shining Energy's previous stakes wins had come at a mile or less. The Gamely was preceded by a win in the American Beauty Handicap at a mile on turf at Santa Anita in April. The back-to-back victories were the first consecutive wins for Shining Energy.

Last summer, her campaign was highlighted by an upset win in the Grade 2 San Clemente Handicap at Del Mar, a performance surrounded by seventh- and ninth-place finishes.

"When I ran her last year, she wasn't right, but I couldn't pinpoint it," Canani said. "I gave her some time, and she won the San Clemente. "She likes time between races."

Canani was impressed with Espinoza's ride, and is cautiously optimistic that the jockey will stick with Shining Energy.

"They change horses like they change shirts," he said.

Charmo could run in the $250,000 American Handicap on July 2 for Canani, or wait for two lucrative stakes on turf in late summer - the $400,000 Del Mar Breeders' Cup Mile on Aug. 27 or the $1 million Woodbine Mile in Toronto on Sept. 17.

"I'm not afraid to run a horse fresh," Canani said.

Milady start for Memorette

Trainer Bill Currin spent many hours last week debating whether to run Memorette in the Gamely or wait for Saturday's $175,000 Milady Breeders' Cup Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on dirt.

Currin has waited for the Milady - he did not even enter Memorette in the Gamely - and is now committed to a start in the Grade 2 race on dirt. Whether Memorette could have beaten Shining Energy is now moot. The focus is whether she can beat the six-time stakes winner Star Parade in the Milady.

"I think I would have run well in the race," Currin said of the Gamely. "I know she likes this turf."

Currin is trying to make Memorette a graded-stakes winner, which would greatly enhance her value. Currin has arguably picked an easier spot. Aside from Star Parade, the race is not expected to have many runners, but will feature the stakes winner Proposed and the stakes-placed Freakin Streakin.

"I decided to make more of a business decision than a sporting one," Currin said. "She's ready to go. She worked in 35 and change [on Wednesday] and wouldn't blow out a candle."

Memorette will be ridden by Alex Solis, who was aboard for a victory in the Fran's Valentine Stakes against statebreds on April 30. The win ended a 10-race losing streak for Memorette, a span that included a runner-up finish to Shining Energy in the San Clemente and second- or third-place finishes in three Grade 1 races on dirt in the spring of 2005.

Those frustrations will be forgotten if Memorette can win the Milady for Currin and his wife, Betty, who owns the filly.