01/23/2008 1:00AM

Change Up tries to gain confidence


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Trainer Steve Margolis entered two of his stakes-winning fillies, Change Up and Marina Ballerina, for Friday's $75,000 optional claiming feature at Gulfstream Park. But with Marina Ballerina already scratched, it will be Change Up who gets the call in the seven-furlong sprint that also features the return of Grade 2 winner Sangrita and Wellofaprize.

Change Up returns to non-stakes company for the first time since winning her maiden at Churchill Downs during the spring of her 2-year-old campaign in 2006. Since that time, she captured a pair of stakes, including the Grade 3 Pocahontas, but is winless in her last six starts. Last month, she was a well-beaten second behind the speedy Cher Ami in Calder's Chaposa Springs Handicap.

"She seemed to like the track when I worked her at Calder before the race, but then she appeared to be fighting it during the race," said Margolis. "She got to running a little once easing outside, but nobody was going to beat the winner that day."

Margolis hopes a return to softer company will restore Change Up's confidence and set the tone for a big year.

"I think she's in the right spot, and seven furlongs is the right distance for her, but there are no easy races down here," said Margolis.

Sangrita has not started since finishing far back in the Grade 2 Falls City Handicap in November 2006. Sangrita defeated Joint Effort and Indian Flare in the Grade 2 Chilukki Handicap in her previous start, and was also an impressive winner here when she romped to a 12 3/4-length maiden victory during the winter of 2006.

"We brought her down last winter but she got to bleeding on us, so we decided to turn her out for quite a while," explained trainer Michael Matz, when asked why Sangrita has not raced in 14 months. "She's doing well now and we'll see how she does. If things don't work out, she'll become a mama."

Wellofaprize was transferred to trainer Todd Pletcher's barn at 3 but made only two starts in 2007, the last an impressive second-level allowance win at Churchill Downs on May 24. Wellofaprize has trained steadily for her return at Palm Beach Downs, where her work tab includes a five-furlong drill in 59.80 seconds last weekend.

- additional reporting by David Grening