12/17/2007 12:00AM

Citronnade cruises in Dahlia

EmailINGLEWOOD, Calif. – The first good decision made by the team behind Citronnade was to leave the filly in Sunday’s $150,000 Dahlia Handicap at Hollywood Park. When she drew the outside post position, trainer Bobby Frankel had considered scratching her.

The second good decision was jockey David Flores’s call to take Citronnade to the lead shortly after the start. Unchallenged, Citronnade set slow fractions and won the Grade 2 Dahlia Handicap by an easy two lengths. She ran 1 1/16 miles on turf in 1:41.49, scoring her fifth stakes win of 2007. It was a record seventh win in the Dahlia for Frankel.

Frankel left Citronnade in the Dahlia after top rival Nashoba’s Key was scratched on Saturday. The withdrawals of Live Life and Shermeen on Sunday meant that Citronnade started from post 9 and not her original draw of post 12.

Bet down to the 4-5 favorite, Citronnade was in front by the first turn, set slow fractions of 24.35 and 48.62 seconds, and was never really threatened.

“It was like a walk in the park,” Flores said. “The pace was very comfortable.”

Black Mamba, third behind Nashoba’s Key and Citronnade in the Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon Stakes at Santa Anita in September, closed from fifth on the backstretch to finish second. Lavender Sky, making her graded stakes debut, finished third.

Citronnade ended a two-race losing streak in the Dahlia. Owned and bred by Stronach Stables, Citronnade, 4, has won 9 of 14 starts and $864,205.