10/28/2009 12:00AM

Hermione's Magic gets Gomez on board

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ARCADIA, Calif. - The fifth-place finish by Hermione's Magic at Santa Anita on Oct. 1 was not reflective of the filly's true ability, trainer Kathy Walsh insists.

It was indicative of how eager she can be in her races. "She was a little bit rank last time," Walsh said.

Hermione's Magic starts in an optional claimer over a mile on turf at Santa Anita on Friday and will have a new jockey. Garrett Gomez has the mount, replacing Mike Smith, who rode Hermione's Magic in her first three American starts, including an exciting win in an optional claimer at Del Mar on Aug. 5 and a ninth-place finish in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks on Aug. 22.

In the Del Mar Oaks, Hermione's Magic broke slowly and was never a factor.

"We made the decision to take a shot in the Oaks, and it was the wrong thing to do," Walsh said. "It was too close to her first race."

In her Aug. 5 win, Hermione's Magic rallied six wide in the stretch and won by a half-length, her second victory in a five-race career that began in England. Walsh is hoping for a repeat of that race.

"If she settles for Garrett, I think she'll run a better race," Walsh said. "She's not the kind that needs to be on the lead."

Hermione's Magic is part of a field of seven fillies and mares.

Smith will ride Expensive Art, who won a $50,000 claimer over a mile on turf in her last start, which came at Del Mar, on Sept. 3. Expensive Art led throughout that race, and could lead on Friday.

Spinning Yarns, sixth in the E.B. Johnston Stakes at Fairplex Park on Sept. 12 after leading early, could be near the front. She is winless in seven starts since an allowance victory here in January.

Expensive Art will be tracked by Cee Stone, who was seventh in the same race as Hermione's Magic on Oct. 1; Linda Lou, who won a first-condition allowance race at Del Mar on Aug. 22; and Pride Dancer, who has not raced since June. Step Softly races from farther off the pace.

Linda Lou made her first start around two turns on Aug. 22, and handled the new distance well, drawing off to win by two lengths.

Pride Dancer was third in the Grade 3 Senorita Stakes earlier this year.