03/21/2008 11:00PM

Distance a key for Rollerskates

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ARCADIA, Calif. – Rollerskates proved unbeatable when she was allowed to set an easy lead in an optional claimer on turf earlier this month at Santa Anita. If she can win again in Monday’s fourth race at Santa Anita, an optional claimer, she will fulfill trainer Matt Chew’s expectations for her.

Along with her owners, Seymour Teichner and his family, Chew believes that Rollerskates will thrive over longer distances. Monday’s distance of 1 1/4 miles on turf equals the longest race in Rollerskates’s career.

“We’ve always felt that further distances would add to her value,” Chew said.

Rollerskates has won 2 of 12 starts and $95,580. In her recent win, an optional claimer for statebred fillies and mares, Rollerskates led by a length for most of the 1 1/8-mile turf race, was challenged in the stretch, and pulled clear to win by a length. It was the first time that she had let throughout.

“We’re not looking to change her style, per se,” Chew said. “She’s pretty much a one-paced individual.”

Rollerskates started over 1 1/4 miles on turf last November, finishing fourth in the California Cup Distance Handicap.

If jockey David Flores takes Rollerskates to the front, he could find company from Lake Marina, who has drawn the outside post in a field of eight fillies and mares. Trained by Barry Abrams, Lake Marina won a $55,000 claimer over a mile on turf on Feb. 28, which was only her second win in 23 starts. She has never run 1 1/4 miles on turf.

Flores is a replacement for Joe Talamo on Rollerskates. Talamo rides Le Cirque. Trained by Beau Greely, Le Cirque has started in three stakes in the last year, with her best finishes fourths in the Viejas Casino Handicap at Del Mar and the Audrey Skirball Kenis Stakes at Hollywood Park.

The distance may fit First Take, who won a maiden race over a mile on the synthetic main track Feb. 24. Trained by Tim Yakteen, First Take needed six races to beat maidens and ran best when she stretched out from sprints. Monday’s race is her first start at 1 1/4 miles.

“She gives the impression that she’ll run all day long,” Yakteen said. “Hopefully, we’ll get an honest pace. She has no speed, so in her sprint races, by the time they were finishing, she was getting going.”