04/01/2007 11:00PM

Cantabria should like move to turf


ARCADIA, Calif. - Cantabria has run first and fifth in two starts since arriving in the United States last fall, diverse performances that could be confusing to bettors assessing her chances in Wednesday's seventh race at Santa Anita.

Trained by Bobby Frankel, Cantabria won an allowance race on the synthetic track at Hollywood Park in December but was fifth as the even-money favorite in the Grade 2 El Encino Stakes at Santa Anita in January.

The loss should not be held against Cantabria, insists jockey Richard Migliore. He expects a winning effort from Cantabria when she starts in an optional claimer over about 6o1/2 furlongs on turf on Wednesday.

"I like her back on the grass," Migliore said. "She's a real handy filly and she should do well down the hill."

Cantabria finished second in two stakes in England in 2005 and 2006, including a nose loss in the Group 3 Fred Darling at Newbury.

At Hollywood Park, she won by 4 1/4 lengths, pulling away in the final furlong.

"She won as easy as a horse can win," Migliore said. "I'd be surprised if she doesn't run well."

In the El Encino, Cantabria, 4, was beaten 15o3/4 lengths by stablemate Sugar Shake. The race was Cantabria's first start on a conventional dirt surface.

"She didn't like it," Migliore said. "I knew it less than a half-mile into the race."

Wednesday's turf race has drawn seven fillies and mares, including the recent winner Ready to Talk, the English import Arm Candy, and the prolific winner Bettersweetmoment.

Ready to Talk won an allowance on the hillside turf course on March 4, ending a 10-race losing streak. Trained by Todd Pletcher, she is best from off the pace.

Arm Candy won 2 of 11 starts in England and is making her first start for trainer Ben Cecil. Arm Candy won a handicap over a mile at Newmarket last October against 14 rivals, including males.

Bettersweetmoment has won 8 of 12 starts. She was fourth, four lengths behind River's Prayer, in the Irish O'Brien Stakes here on March 17.

Feel Ridge, entered to be claimed for $62,500, won her last start, a one-mile turf race for $55,000 claimers on March 8.