04/14/2009 11:00PM

Canani finds a spot for fast pair


ARCADIA, Calif. - Trainer Julio Canani learned the hard way that Fastongrass is not suited to two-turn races. He learned the easy way that Silent Stalk is a promising turf sprinter.

The two 3-year-old fillies meet for the first time in an optional claimer at about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course Thursday at Santa Anita.

Earlier this week, Canani declined to choose between the fillies, other than to say they both deserve to be in the field.

"I think [Silent Stalk] is faster," he said. "Both are sharp."

Silent Stalk won her turf debut, in her fifth career start, in a maiden race on the hillside turf course on March 14, fighting for the lead before winning by a half-length.

"She got headed every step of the way and didn't let anyone go by," Canani said.

Fastongrass has won 2 of 5 starts, with both wins occurring in turf sprints - a six-furlong race at Hollywood Park on Dec. 10 and an optional claimer at about 6 1/2 furlongs here Jan. 9.

In the Grade 2 Providencia Stakes at a mile on turf on April 4, Fastongrass finished 10th of 11.

"Fastongrass did not want to rate," Canani said. "She's a good sprinter."

Thursday's race will be the first time that Fastongrass is eligible to be claimed, for $80,000.

"There's no place else to run her," Canani said.

The race drew seven fillies, including On Approval, who is trained by the red-hot Kathy Walsh. On Approval won her turf debut in a maiden race on the hillside turf course by three-quarters of a length on March 6. On Approval was eighth early and closed well with a wide rally to reach the front in the final furlong. She could get a similar trip if a quick pace develops Thursday.

Through Sunday, Walsh had 16 wins from 56 runners, a 29 percent win rate, and was ranked ninth in the standings.

Two other fillies in Thursday's race ran well in their last starts - Entabeni and Gold Goddess.

Entabeni won a maiden race for $75,000 claimers at six furlongs March 27. Thursday's race will be her turf debut.

Gold Goddess was second, at 77-1, in the Grade 3 La Habra Stakes on the hillside turf course Feb. 1 and a troubled third in an optional claimer on the hillside on March 21.