06/18/2008 11:00PM

It's north vs. south in Work the Crowd


ALBANY, Calif. - The divide between north and south in California racing plays out again Saturday in the $75,000 Work the Crowd, a one-mile turf stakes for Cal-bred fillies and mares.

The Southern California invaders come north with impressive credentials, while the locally based runners come into the race with solid current form but something to prove against tougher competition.

Tutta Bella and Lightmyfirebaby are both stakes winners down south, as is No Means Maybe, who is now based in the north. Tail Spin Topper, Andover the Cash, and Livia La Vida Loca are locally based runners who are stakes-placed.

Tutta Bella put together a three-race win streak earlier this year, capped by a game victory in the Fran's Valentine at Hollywood Park on Gold Rush Day, April 27. She then ran eighth in the Cal-bred Redondo Beach at Hollywood Park on June 7 in her last start.

She came back with a bullet half-mile work on Wednesday that has trainer John Sadler willing to toss out the result of that race.

Lightmyfirebaby won the Irish O'Brien and then the Grade 3 Las Cienegas, both at 6 1/2 furlongs down the hill at Santa Anita. She also ran second after leading in the stretch in the Valentine Dancer at Saturday's one-mile distance. She comes off an even fourth in the six-furlong Great Lady M on June 11 at Hollywood Park.

Two locally based horses making their stakes debuts come into the race with two straight wins.

Bellsblade, who has won 3 of 4 starts going back to a $12,500 maiden claimer on March 6, won a 7 1/2-furlong starter allowance race at Bay Meadows on April 14 and followed up with an allowance win at one mile here May 18. She has two easy maintenance drills for trainer Steve Miyadi, who is trying to supplant Jerry Hollendorfer as Golden Gate's training leader for the meet.

Famous Secret, third behind Bellsblade at Bay Meadows in April, has come back to win a pair of five-furlong sprints, rallying gamely each time, including June 6 in an allowance race here.

"She's bred to route," trainer Gloria Buckridge said. "We've had some ups and downs with her, but we've got a handle on her. Now that riders have learned to take hold of her and let her settle, she's improved. We felt it was time to take a shot with her."