03/20/2007 12:00AM

Carla Stripes's last not true

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ARCADIA, Calif. - Carla Stripes fell short of expectations in her U.S. debut on Jan. 12. Hammered to 3-2 while racing at 1 1/16 miles, Carla Stripes surrendered passing the quarter pole and finished last by more than 15 lengths.

If finish position were the only consideration, Carla Stripes might be an easy toss-out Thursday at Santa Anita. But one start does not make or break a career, and Carla Stripes merits another chance when she shortens to seven furlongs in a filly-mare allowance (race 7) that suits her perfectly.

Ron McAnally trains Carla Stripes for owners Sid and Jenny Craig. The mare's 4-for-5 Argentina resume includes a Group 1 and a Group 2 victory.

The common denominator in her South America races was speed. Carla Stripes set or pressed the pace in all five starts, so it was no surprise she resented the rating tactics used in her U.S. debut.

Carla Stripes pulled hard chasing a fast pace, and by the time the field reached the head of the lane, she had had enough. Carla Stripes gave way. However, what Carla Stripes did the first part of the race suggests she will improve Thursday, cutting back to one turn.

Carla Stripes wants to run fast, so there is little sense in her new rider Richard Migliore taking her back. After all, the Thursday race is a sprint and it is short on speed. She might be quick enough to make the lead, and if so, she can win it on the front end.

Seven others will chase, including Notre Dame, who finished nearly 11 lengths in front of Carla Stripes last out. Trained by Bobby Frankel, Notre Dame will be grinding away late. Skeptics might suggest that Notre Dame's runner-up finish last out was a pick-up-the-pieces performance that was not as good as it looks.

Freakin Streakin drops from graded stakes. Getback Time moves up after a game win in a second-level allowance.

Also on Thursday's card is a first-level turf allowance (race 4) in which Del Mar Ticket needs only a clean trip to knock off seven filly-mare rivals.

In race 1, a quarter-mile 2-year-old dash, the Shane Chipman-trained Nevada Worrier has the edge over the Wesley Ward-trained Young Joe, who landed post 10. The past four years, posts 9 and 10 are a combined 0 for 51 in quarter-mile sprints. Nevada Worrier (post 7) is by Lord Carson, and he has fast works. Chipman also starts Pocketfuloffeathers.