06/09/2003 11:00PM

Lage goes for 'Broke' on turf

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SAN MATEO, Calif. - Trainer Armando Lage will use Thursday's Bay Meadows feature as an experiment for Broke in Blairsden. A 5-year-old Cal-bred mare, Broke in Blairsden will make her turf debut when she meets seven other fillies and mares in a $50,000 optional claiming race at five furlongs.

Broke in Blairsden has scored three of her four lifetime victories since arriving in Lage's barn last fall. Also under Lage, she was second to Jetinto Houston in the $107,000 Irish O'Brien Stakes at Santa Anita on March 16 and third in the Work the Crowd Handicap and Orinda Handicap at Golden Gate Fields in January.

Of trying Broke in Blairsden on turf, Lage said: "It could open another door for her, like Cal Cup Day with that nice race down the hill or at Del Mar where there are some sprints on the grass."

Broke in Blairsden comes off a poor effort. She was sixth, beaten 16 lengths, in the $150,000 B. Thoughtful at Hollywood Park on April 26.

"That race down south came up tough, but she didn't handle the track at all," Lage said. "I knew it would be tough to win, but she never picked up the bit. That was very unusual for her."

Broke in Blairsden may want more distance than the five furlongs of Thursday's race, but she should get a good stalking trip with speed horses Lacrystal Classic and Chosen Honor in the race.

Miss Terasita, who has four turf victories and comes off a troubled second against similar company, also figures to be tough.

Mercado, Anna Capri team up again

Rider Pedro Mercado does not get many mounts, but he has made the most of his opportunities this year, with seven victories in 25 starts. He rides his "big horse" in Thursday's opener.

Anna Capri, who is 5 for 24 lifetime, enters the $12,500 claimer at 4 1/2 furlongs on the turf with a three-race win streak. Mercado has ridden her to victory each time, including a win in a similar race in her last start.

He was her regular rider when she was in Gennadi Dorochenko's barn over the winter, and he got back on her in April, two starts after she was claimed by Rene Amescua. He then won on her two starts ago, in her first race after being claimed by current trainer Efrain Miranda.

"Some horses run for some people and don't run a jump for anybody else," Mercado said. "I don't do anything special on her.

"She's very flexible. She can be on the lead, but you can rate her. She can run from far back. I let her do what she wants. She's confident now. After three wins, she feels like she's hot stuff."