10/17/2002 11:00PM

Debuting for Sahadi, Puxa Saco tries Anoakia

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ARCADIA, Calif. - Puxa Saco arrived in California earlier this month, following a third to Ivanavinalot in the Brave Raj Stakes at Calder on Sept. 21.

The form of the Brave Raj Stakes was enhanced when Ivanavinalot - who is among the pre-entries for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Arlington Park on Oct. 26 - won the My Dear Girl Stakes at Calder last weekend.

Owner Richard Rowan is aiming much lower with Puxa Saco. The filly is now trained by Jenine Sahadi, and makes her California debut in Sunday's $75,000 Anoakia Stakes for 2-year-old fillies over six furlongs.

"I think she's pretty genuine," Sahadi said. "She seems pretty honest in the mornings."

In her last two workouts, Chris McCarron and Mike Smith rode Puxa Saco. McCarron was aboard for a five-furlong workout in 59.60 seconds on Oct. 11; Smith for a three-furlong workout in 35 seconds on Wednesday. McCarron, who retired in June, worked Puxa Saco to stay fit for a movie role, Sahadi said. Smith has the mount in the Anoakia.

There are eight fillies in the Anoakia, but no standouts.

Forest Native, one of two runners trained by Christopher Paasch, has joined Puxa Saco from Florida. A winner of 2 of 5 starts, Forest Native has never run beyond 5 1/2 furlongs. She was the front-running winner of an allowance race over five furlongs on Sept. 2 in her final start at Calder.

The Paasch-trained Ionia may go favored. She won a maiden race at Del Mar on Aug. 4, finished sixth in the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante, and was second in the Barretts Debutante at Fairplex Park on Sept. 21.

Ionia raced from a stalking position in the Barretts Debutante, and that running style may be effective in the Anoakia. The race is loaded with front-runners, among them Ain't it Sweep, My Honey Bunny, and Joys World.

My Honey Bunny is the most experienced filly in the field, having won 2 of 9 starts and $75,673. She won the Juan Gonzalez Stakes on the northern California fair circuit in June.

Joys World is making her second start in the Anoakia. Trainer Summer Mayberry said on Friday that Joys World was not a definite runner. In her only start, Joys World won a maiden race over about four furlongs in 45.79 seconds at Fairplex Park on Sept. 26.

"She's very fast, but I don't know how far she wants to go," Mayberry said. "I'll take a look at the race. Even if she gets a piece, it would be a thrill."

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