05/16/2011 8:12AM

Hollywood: St Trinians feeling at home for Milady


INGLEWOOD, Calif. – This was supposed to be St Trinians’s year to rise to the top of the older female division in California.

When trainer Mike Mitchell turned her out last summer, citing the need for a break, St Trinians had finished second to Zenyatta in the Grade 1 Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park in June. Mitchell cancelled the rest of the 2010 season and began focusing on 2011, knowing that Zenyatta would be retired.

So far, this year the plan has not worked. St Trinians was beaten in two graded stakes at Santa Anita earlier this year. When St Trinians starts in Saturday’s $150,000 Milady Handicap for fillies and mares over 1 1/16 miles, Mitchell feels like St Trinians has an advantage. St Trinians is trained regularly on Hollywood Park’s Cushion Track synthetic surface.

“I’m glad to get her back on this synthetic track,” Mitchell said.

In the Grade 2 Milady, St Trinians will attempt to end a four-race losing streak that includes the loss to Zenyatta and two races on Santa Anita’s dirt track earlier this year – a third in the Grade 2 Santa Maria Stakes in February and a fourth in the Grade 1 Santa Margarita Invitational on March 12.

“When she ran first time on the dirt, I thought she ran very big,” Mitchell said of the Santa Maria. “The second time out, I have to blame it on the racetrack because she was training so well.”

Owned by Dan Capen and Laura Chavers, St Trinians has won two stakes in the United States since arriving from England in late 2008. On Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride synthetic track in early 2010, St Trinians won the Paseana Handicap and Grade 2 Santa Maria Handicap in consecutive starts. She was even favored in the Santa Anita Handicap against males in March 2010, but could only finish sixth, the first loss of the current losing streak.

This year, Mitchell plans to focus mainly on synthetic track races, including the Grade 1 Vanity Handicap here on June 18 and the Grade 1 Clement Hirsch Stakes on a Polytrack synthetic surface at Del Mar on Aug. 6.

“I don’t have to consider the dirt,” he said. “I can run on synthetic tracks, or try the turf.”

In the Milady, St Trinians is expected to face American Story, Church Camp, Makoma, Washington Bridge and possibly Ultra Blend, who is being considered for Sunday’s $70,000 Fran’s Valentine Stakes for statebred females on turf.