09/30/2009 11:00PM

Flashover knows her way down this hill


ARCADIA, Calif. - Quick joke: Did you hear what one horse said to the other at the top of the 6 1/2-furlong turf course at Santa Anita? "It's all downhill from here." A little lean to the right soon after the start, then a sweeping turn to the left. It's a course some master, others find baffling. In the case of Flashover, it may prove to be her ticket to riches.

Flashover is unbeaten in two races on the hillside turf course. She has yet to earn a stakes win, though. But that could very well change on Saturday at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting, when Flashover puts her downhill experience to use in a wide-open running of the $100,000 California Cup Distaff Handicap, which drew 10 females.

Flashover, who won twice on this course earlier this year, is returning to her favorite spot after fading when trying one mile on turf in the Solana Beach Handicap at Del Mar. Including a turf sprint win at Del Mar, she is 3 for 3 in grass sprints.

"She's a very versatile horse," her trainer, Barry Abrams, said Thursday morning. "She can do anything. Last time she was supposed to be on the lead, but she was rated, and she didn't like it."

Abrams will also send out Golden Doc A, who is trying to recapture her best form. A Grade 1 winner, Golden Doc A has not won a race in 1 1/2 years, though she was an improved third facing the speedy Carlsbad on Del Mar's main track in the Rancho Bernardo Handicap four weeks ago.

Bootleg Annie, like Flashover, is exiting the Solana Beach. The turn back from a route to a sprint gives trainer Kathy Walsh hope that Bootleg Annie can prevail.

"A lot of horses do that downhill very well coming off a mile race," Walsh said.

Bootleg Annie usually is on the lead when going two turns. She should fall into an ideal spot coming down the hill.

"I think she can rate off the pace," Walsh said.

Bootleg Annie is remarkably consistent, having won 14 times in 29 starts, with 23 in-the-money finishes. She is reunited Saturday with Rafael Bejarano, who has won on her the last time three times he has ridden her.

"Rafael gets along very well with her," Walsh said.

Walsh took over as Bootleg Annie's trainer only earlier this year, after she had run 23 times.

"I'd like to tell you all the things we did, but it would just be a story," Walsh said. "Maybe she's just getting better with age."

Strawberry Tart, who has been racing against far stronger competition, figures to attract plenty of support. She had a wide trip in the Del Mar Oaks and was no factor, but before that turned in three straight excellent efforts on turf, including a victory sprinting in the Manhattan Beach Stakes at Hollywood Park.

Unworldly Heat and Speedin Excess enter the Distaff Handicap following a one-two finish in a first-level allowance going five furlongs on turf at Del Mar. Speedin Excess did not have a clean trip that day. She has never finished worse than second in five starts.