02/27/2002 1:00AM

Carinae could use a clean trip


ARCADIA, Calif. - For a month, jockey Alex Solis has been eager for another chance to ride Carinae.

Carinae was third in her United States debut in an allowance race on the hillside turf course on Feb. 1, but probably should have won. She was blocked through much of the stretch and beaten only 1 1/2 lengths.

Solis will have his chance for redemption in Friday's $100,000 La Habra Stakes at Santa Anita when Carinae starts against 11 other 3-year-old fillies over about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course.

"She should have won," Solis said. "You try to make the right decision in the race. Sometimes you are the hero. Sometimes you're not. That's part of the game."

Trained by Bobby Frankel, Carinae has one win in four starts and was stakes-placed at York, England, last fall. Other top contenders include Dancing, the upset winner of the Grade 2 Santa Ynez Stakes on dirt on Jan. 21 in her U.S. debut; the English imports Ayzal and Partytime, who are coupled; and Anbella, who was unbeaten in two starts in France last year.

The domestic team includes Fun House, who won the race in which Carinae was third, and Lady Katy Did, winner of a maiden race down the hill on Feb. 14.

Frankel also starts Nunatall, who was second as the favorite in the Blue Norther Stakes on Jan. 9 in her U.S. debut. The two Frankel starters will not be coupled, but Carinae is the likely favorite.

Dancing will be well supported. She was 18-1 in the seven-furlong Santa Ynez, her first start for trainer Jenine Sahadi. Rallying from last under Gary Stevens, Dancing won by a half-length in her first start since August.

"I wasn't sure about the dirt," Sahadi said. "Gary took her back, kept her out of trouble and she made a run.

"I know she works great on the grass, but the hillside can be funny until they do it for the first time."

Trainer Jim Cassidy has an interesting pair in Ayzal and Partytime, who are owned by partnerships. Ayzal was third against males in a $166,000 allowance race for sale graduates at Newmarket, England, last October. In four starts, she has never been worse than third. Partytime raced against males last summer and fall, but was less successful than Ayzal.

"I think Ayzal is the better filly of the two," Cassidy said. "Partytime will show more speed."

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