10/19/2005 12:00AM

Distance suits Orma Giusta


ARCADIA, Calif. - A Group 2 winner in Brazil last year, Orma Giusta arrived in this country this year with high expectations.

So far, she has done nothing to dash those hopes.

Friday, Orma Giusta makes her second U.S. start in a $49,000 allowance race at Santa Anita.

is the likely favorite against five rivals in the allowance race, at 1 1/4 miles on turf. Last month, she finished third in a one-mile race at Bay Meadows, rallying to miss by three-quarters of a length despite encountering traffic in early stretch.

"She needed the race up north," said her trainer, Paulo Lobo. "I think she's going to do very well for Friday. Her dam was very good on distance."

Lobo's stable has been quiet in recent months, following the recent retirement of top 2004 sprinter Pico Central. Lobo is optimistic that Orma Giusta can develop into a stakes-caliber filly.

"That's what I hope," he said.

A winner of 3 of 5 starts, Orma Giusta, 4, won a Group 2 race at about 1 1/4 miles on turf in Brazil in September 2004.

She is not the only filly in Friday's race with experience over longer distances. Miss France, trained by Bobby Frankel, was second or third in 4 of 5 starts at 1 1/4 or 1 5/16 miles in France in 2004.

has not started since finishing second to Flip Flop in the Prix Charles Laffitte in October 2004. Flip Flop is pre-entered for the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Belmont Park on Oct. 29.

was third in the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary in France in 2004, but has only 2 wins in 6 starts in the United States. She closed considerable ground to finish third in an optional claimer at 1 1/16 miles on turf at Del Mar on Aug. 14, a race that was too short for her liking.

Friday's program also features a $42,000 allowance race at about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside course. The undefeated Salah Who faces his toughest test against six rivals. Claimed out of his first start for $40,000 by trainer Dan Hendricks at Del Mar on Aug. 24, Salah Who returned to win a starter allowance race at Fairplex Park on Sept. 24.

Hendricks said the turf sprint will be a test for Salah Who, a horse that caught his eye at Del Mar with a series of strong works before his debut.

"We want to see if we have other options," Hendricks said.