09/29/2008 11:00PM

Inspired Storm trying two turns

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ARCADIA, Calif. - The career of Inspired Storm had trainer Mike Machowsky somewhat puzzled until the 10th race at Del Mar on Sept. 3. As Inspired Storm was winning a maiden race for female sprinters in her third start, Machowsky felt she had finally displayed the breakthrough performance expected earlier in the summer.

His confidence has grown since that race. Along with owner Julius Zolezzi and jockey Martin Pedroza, Machowsky expects Inspired Storm to show further progress when she starts in an optional $40,000 claimer over 1 1/16 miles at Santa Anita on Thursday.

"I thought she'd be a two-turn type of filly," Machowsky said.

Inspired Storm finished a troubled fifth in August, a loss that Pedroza blamed on himself, Machowsky said.

"She's a real high-strung horse, and Pedroza didn't warm her up much," Machowsky said. "He said she had a rough trip. He got off of her and said, 'I screwed up.' He was very confident last time, and I didn't know what to expect."

In the Sept. 3 race over 6 1/2 furlongs, Inspired Storm was near the front throughout and pulled away to win by 2 1/4 lengths.

Inspired Storm will need another top effort to win Thursday's sixth race. Comeback Queen, stakes placed on synthetic tracks in England earlier this year, makes her first start on such a surface for trainer Ben Cecil. Comeback Queen was a fast-closing second in an optional claimer on turf at Del Mar in her U.S. debut.

Vixana will be well backed. Trained by John Shirreffs, Vixana was second as the favorite in a similar race at Del Mar on July 26 and was found to be bleeding from the mouth when she returned to be unsaddled.

In the seventh race, the recent maiden winners Date With Fate, Hot n' Dusty, and Shes a Real Keeper will attempt to continue their success in a one-mile optional $32,000 claimer for California-bred fillies and mares.

Shes a Real Keeper was third as a maiden in the California Cup Juvenile Fillies over 1 1/16 miles last fall.

Date With Fate and Hot n' Dusty are trying a two-turn race for the first time. Thursday's race is a quick comeback for Hot n' Dusty, who won a maiden race for statebreds over 6 1/2 furlongs last Friday.

Unusual Heather and Paloma's Flight are capable of winning. They were third in separate races at this level at Del Mar in August.