12/27/2005 12:00AM

Grecian no secret this time


ARCADIA, Calif. - There was delight in trainer Ron McAnally's camp when Grecian overcame trouble to win her U.S. debut at Santa Anita in September. McAnally is hoping Grecian will have an easier time when she reappears in a $60,000 allowance race over a mile on turf at Santa Anita on Thursday.

Owned by Arnold Zetcher, Grecian is trying for her third consecutive win, a streak that began with a victory in a Group 2 race in Argentina in January. In her U.S. debut, Grecian was 12-1 in a field of five. She was stuck in traffic with three furlongs remaining but rallied along the rail through the stretch to win by a half-length.

"She had a lot of trouble," McAnally recalled.

Thursday, Grecian drew the rail in a field of six fillies and mares. She faces a tough group of opponents: Beautyandthebeast, Eternal Melody, Midwife, Reality Show, and Silver Cup.

Beautyandthebeast is making her U.S. debut. She won the Sandring-ham Handicap at the Royal Ascot meeting in York, England, in June.

Eternal Melody, a stakes winner in New Zealand in 2003, is making her first start since July 2004.

Reality Show has won 3 of her last 4 starts, while Midwife was third in the Yerba Buena Breeders' Cup Handicap at Golden Gate Fields in May.

Silver Cup is the most accomplished member of the field this year. She won the Italian 2000 Guineas in May but is winless in her last three starts. She was third in the Grade 2 Mrs. Revere Stakes at Churchill Downs last month and adds blinkers for this race.

Silver Cup is a closer who must catch Grecian, a stalker. Reality Show and Midwife are likely to set the pace.

The day's third race is a $52,000 allowance race over 1 1/8 miles for fillies and mares. The race drew seven entrants, including the Brazilian import Arrabiata Grace and the promising fillies Great Opinions and Sketch.

Arrabiata Grace was second in a Group 2 stakes over 1 1/4 miles on turf in Brazil in February. She is now trained by Hector Palma for Southern Comfort Stable.

Great Opinions, trained by Ben Cecil, will benefit from the distance. She was third in two races over a mile in September and October, closing through the stretch in each start.

Sketch, trained by Tim Yakteen, was a close third in an allowance race at Golden Gate Fields in November, her first start of the year.