03/17/2009 11:00PM

Flashover still trying to find her right level

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ARCADIA, Calif. - Flashover's three-race losing streak has trainer Barry Abrams concerned about her form in advance of Friday's second race at Santa Anita.

The 4-year-old Flashover won her first two races against modest competition, but has found stakes and allowance races more difficult in recent months. The losses have tempered Abrams's enthusiasm. At one point, Abrams thought she would develop into a stakes horse.

"Now I don't know," he said. "She was visually impressive when she broke her maiden, but she wasn't as impressive last time. I don't know what she'll end up being."

Flashover was second in an optional claimer for statebreds over six furlongs on March 4. She was within a neck of the lead in the stretch, but faded late to finish second, beaten 1 1/4 lengths.

Friday's race is an optional $25,000 claimer over about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course. Flashover is by Unusual Heat, an excellent turf sire among California-breds.

Flashover does not face a strong field, which Abrams hopes will help her chances.

"Last time, it was a strong field," he said.

Flashover has never set the pace. She rallied from well behind to win a $40,000 claiming race for maidens last April and did not start again until January of this year, when she won a starter allowance by two lengths.

Abrams made the ambitious move of trying Flashover in the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Sprint at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 24, and the filly had a bad trip. She was bumped at the start, steadied early, and finished eighth.

Flashover did not fare much better as the 2-1 favorite in an allowance here on Feb. 6, never reaching contention and finishing last of seven.

Abrams can take some comfort among Flashover's six rivals. Aside from Flashover, the two runners with wins this year - Dotsy Jean and Kneeling's Pride - did so in claiming races.

"She looks like the horse to beat," Abrams said of Flashover.

Warren's Appeal has experience on turf. She won a starter allowance over a mile on turf on Dec. 31, and returned to finish seventh in an allowance race for statebreds on Jan. 14 after racing near the front for the first six furlongs.

"I want to get her on the hill and get her behind horses," trainer Jorge Gutierrez said. "Maybe she will settle."