07/01/2002 11:00PM

La Martina eyes third stakes win


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Southern California invader La Martina returns to the distance of her last win Thursday in the $125,000 Walmac Lone Star Oaks, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies that highlights a 10-race card at Lone Star Park.

As a two-time stakes winner, La Martina is the most proven member of the eight-horse Lone Star Oaks field. Bred in Great Britain, she won the $50,000 Hidden Light at Santa Anita last October in her first United States start, and in February she captured the $55,000 California Oaks Handicap over 1 1/16 miles on turf at Golden Gate Fields.

Since the California Oaks, La Martina has raced twice, with both starts coming over 1 1/8 miles. She finished second to future Grade 2 Honeymoon winner Megahertz in the $75,000 Providencia Stakes at Santa Anita on April 13, then seventh in the Honeymoon on June 8.

La Martina has worked sharply for the Lone Star Oaks, covering five furlongs around the dogs in a near-bullet 1:01.40 on the Hollywood Park turf June 27. Corey Lanerie, the leading rider at Lone Star and the track's top turf rider by wins, has the mount for trainer Jenine Sahadi.

Cielo Girl, who is looking for her fourth straight win, makes her turf debut in the Lone Star Oaks. She has been invincible at the meet, winning two main-track sprints and a one-mile allowance in three starts.

Cielo Girl was set to try grass last out, but the race, a prep for the Lone Star Oaks, was rained off the turf and she won over a main track rated good, defeating stablemate Academic Angel by a length. Both fillies will start in the Lone Star Oaks for trainer Steve Asmussen. They will not be coupled.

Trainer Eddie Ruiz will also start two in the Lone Star Oaks, the coupled Dyna Penny and Took Out. In her last start, Dyna Penny finished a troubled fifth in a turf allowance, but before that she ran third against male rivals at Lone Star. Took Out won her maiden here in her last start.

Manzottina is a threat to steal the race from her rail post. She has shown speed in her last two starts, including a wire-to-wire win over older rivals in an optional claimer on the main track here June 29.

The field is completed by Grade 3 Honeybee runner-up Cozy Susie, and Sassy Sandy, who is a half-sister to turf stakes winner Bien Nicole. She adds Lasix Thursday.

Post time for the first race is 1:35 p.m.

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