08/09/2009 11:00PM

Hot n' Dusty auditions for stakes


DEL MAR, Calif. - Upon further review, Wednesday's third race at Del Mar looks like a cozier spot for Hot n' Dusty than a bout with Grade 1 fillies and mares would have been in last Sunday's $300,000 Clement Hirsch Stakes.

Trainer Barry Abrams waited until Sunday before choosing a race for the 4-year-old filly, who is owned by Madeline Auerbach and the Little Red Feather Racing partnership. Hot n' Dusty is one of five fillies and mares in an optional claimer over a mile on turf.

"She looks tough to beat," Abrams said. "There is plenty of pace."

A winner of 3 of 19 starts, Hot n' Dusty has been second seven times, including a neck loss in an optional claimer over a mile on turf here on Aug. 2. She has been busy this year, having made 13 starts. Her last win came in an optional claimer over 1 1/16 miles on the main track at Hollywood Park on May 22. She has lost five subsequent starts, including a fourth behind Zenyatta in the Grade 1 Vanity Handicap on June 27.

Abrams said that if Hot n' Dusty runs well on Wednesday she could start in the $100,000 Solana Beach Handicap on Aug. 23.

Hot n' Dusty is one of two Abrams-trained fillies in the field, joined by Flashover, who won a five-furlong optional claimer on turf here July 23. Wednesday's race will be the longest start of Flashover's career, which includes 5 wins in 8 starts.

Flashover is quick, but so are Bahama Mama and Zardana.

Bahama Mama won an optional claimer over a mile on turf here last August, but is winless in her last eight starts. During that span, she has been unplaced in six stakes, but was a brighter second in an allowance race over a mile on turf at Hollywood Park last month. In that race, she stalked the pace but could not beat Bootleg Annie.

Zardana failed to reach the front and was sixth behind Tuscan Evening in the Grade 2 Royal Heroine Stakes at Hollywood Park on July 11. Trained by John Shirreffs, Zardana led throughout a one-mile allowance race at Hollywood Park on May 31, finishing 1 3/4 lengths in front of Hot n' Dusty.

Pams Pompallier makes her U.S. debut on Wednesday. A New Zealand-bred, she was group stakes placed in New Zealand, but has not started since April 2008.