03/31/2010 11:00PM

City to City steps up in Providencia

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ARCADIA, Calif. - A move to turf has redefined the career of City to City, who won a maiden claimer on the Northern California fair circuit in 2009.

Since moving to turf at the start of this year, City to City has won 2 of 3 starts, including the minor China Doll Stakes over a mile Feb. 20. Her next start will be more serious, Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000 Providencia Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

The Providencia, run at 1 1/8 miles, will be City to City's first graded stakes appearance, and expectations are high at trainer Jerry Hollendorfer's stable.

"She just keeps getting better and better," said Dan Ward, Hollendorfer's assistant.

City to City, who is by City Zip, had an ideal trip in the China Doll. She was second to early stretch, took the lead in the final furlong, and won by 1 1/2 lengths over Camille C, a starter in the Providencia.

"She kind of played with them," Ward said. "The City Zips love the turf. You see more of them back East. They run well, and she's the same."

There was a slow pace of 23.84 and 48.11 seconds in the China Doll, which helped fillies such as City to City, who was near the front, but hampered fillies such as Andina and In the Slips, who were farther back.

Andina won her first two starts in this country, including an optional claimer over a mile on turf Jan. 29. The Providencia will be the longest race of her career.

"I think the extra furlong will help her," trainer Ben Cecil said.

In the Slips was the 6-5 favorite in the China Doll, and trainer Jeff Mullins said her fourth-place finish left him puzzled. Ridden by Victor Espinoza, In the Slips was in traffic on the turn and closed to finish 2 1/2 lengths behind City to City.

"I don't know what happened," Mullins said. "Victor kind of stood up in the stretch. Past the eighth pole, she came back on."

Jockey Garrett Gomez rides In the Slips in the Providencia. He was aboard the filly for a win in the Blue Norther Stakes here Jan. 1.

Fillies such as Andina and In the Slips may have a better pace scenario in the Providencia. Aside from the speedy Camille C, the race features Pulpit Magic, who has been on the lead in her last two starts.

Crisp works toward Kentucky Oaks

Crisp, the winner of the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel Stakes and Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks at this meeting, worked five furlongs in 1:00.20 at Hollywood Park on Thursday. The workout was the fastest of 11 recorded works at the distance and was part of Crisp's preparation for the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on April 30.

Trainer John Sadler has not decided when Crisp will be sent to Churchill Downs, pending the performances of Kentucky Derby hopefuls Sidney's Candy in the Santa Anita Derby and Dave in Dixie in the Illinois Derby on Saturday. He said he is hoping all three can be sent to Kentucky together later this month.