08/23/2005 11:00PM

Distance right for Cold Cold Woman

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DEL MAR, Calif. - A filly running against males, was unlucky to lose by a nose in an optional claimer at Del Mar on July 28 It was a heartbreak loss for trainer Neil Drysdale.

"We've had lots of them," Drysdale said, reflecting on his Del Mar meeting.

Friday, Cold Cold Woman can win her first stakes in the United States in the $80,000 California Thoroughbred Trainers and Thoroughbred Owners of California Handicap for fillies and mares over 1 3/8 miles on turf.

Cold Cold Woman, who will be ridden by Victor Espinoza, is ideally suited to the distance. Her two wins have come over 1 1/8 miles or farther. Last year in Ireland, she won a handicap at Leopardstown over 1 1/8 miles. Her recent race against males was over 1 3/8 miles.

"She ran so well that day against colts," Drysdale said.

The CTT and TOC Handicap has drawn six entrants. Cold Cold Woman, owned by Abergwaun Farm, will be favored.

Drysdale has a third of the entries. He also starts Secret Charm, a minor stakes winner in England in 2003 who has been fourth in two starts in this country.

A 4-year-old, Secret Charm started in the Grade 3 Royal Heroine Stakes at Hollywood Park on July 3 and the restricted Osunitas Handicap here on Aug. 10.

"This will be much more Secret Charm's trip," Drysdale said.

Beneficial Bartok, I Can Yodele, Joyful Ballad, and Santa Candida are the other starters. Beneficial Bartok beat Cold Cold Woman by three-quarters of a length on May 8 but has lost two subsequent starts.

Joyful Ballad won a stakes at Tampa Bay Downs in April, but has lost her last three starts. I Can Yodele has finished eighth in her last two starts.

Santa Candida was a troubled fourth in the Grade 2 Clement Hirsch Handicap on the main track here on Aug. 7. Trainer A.C. Avila said that Santa Candida struck her head on the gate before the start, causing her to bleed. She was vanned off.

Santa Candida has subsequently worked five furlongs. The CTT and TOC Handicap will be her first start on turf since a maiden win in Argentina in 2004.

"I think she's a distance horse," Avila said. "A maiden race is a maiden race, and this is a big jump. She won a Group 1 over a mile and a quarter in Brazil. I've got nothing to lose."