11/14/2002 12:00AM

Give Puxa Saco no surface glance


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The only time Puxa Saco was beaten was in her lone try around two turns. Other than that, she is perfect in three sprints. Further, she has shown an ability to adapt to different surfaces, a trend trainer Jenine Sahadi hopes continues when Puxa Saco runs in Saturday's $100,000 Moccasin Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at Hollywood Park.

Puxa Saco has never raced at Hollywood Park. Sahadi is based at Santa Anita, where Puxa Saco on Tuesday had her final drill for this race. She came to Hollywood on Thursday, was scheduled to school in the paddock later that morning, was set for another schooling session Friday morning, and was to gallop over the track on Friday.

Because Hollywood's surface is considerably slower and deeper than Santa Anita's, horses shipping from across town often struggle here. But Sahadi believes Puxa Saco's experience at Calder, where she made her first three starts, will be beneficial on Saturday.

"She's won once in the slop and once on a dry track at Calder, and won at Santa Anita," Sahadi said Thursday morning. "I'm hoping she'll be okay here."

Puxa Saco comes off a brave victory in the six-furlong Anoakia Stakes during Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting, prevailing despite a rough start and wide trip. "I thought her race was fantastic," Sahadi said. "She was determined."

Puxa Saco has only four rivals in the Moccasin.

Atlantic Ocean drops into an easier spot after being soundly defeated in both the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies and Alcibiades Stakes in her last two starts.

Watching You rallied powerfully to win her lone start, after breaking slowly and being fanned five wide on the turn, on Oct. 5 at Santa Anita.

Tale of a Dream won twice in three starts at Bay Meadows.

Magic Smoke has been freshened since a pair of poor tries in stakes at Del Mar.

The Moccasin lost one top contender when Espy was not entered. She was fourth in the Oak Leaf Stakes in her last start.

"She has a little ankle chip that's going to need surgery today," Gary Mandella, the assistant to his father, Richard, said Thursday. "She should be back during Santa Anita's winter meeting."

- Also of interest on Saturday's card is the eighth race, a first-level allowance at 1 1/16 miles on turf in which Ocean Sound will make his first start since the Kentucky Derby.

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