08/16/2006 11:00PM

Lottacosta eyes third straight


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Lottacosta goes for her second consecutive stakes score Saturday at Woodbine in the $125,000 Ontario Debutante for 2-year-old fillies.

A speedy daughter of Cat Thief, Lottacosta was purchased privately by Jam Jar Racing Stable for just $20,000 after being bought back at a Kentucky yearling sale. After finishing second in a quarter-mile dash in her debut May 20, Lottacosta won her maiden in a 4 1/2-furlong maiden special June 10, earning a 73 Beyer Speed Figure. She then scored a neck victory in the five-furlong My Dear Stakes on July 2, for which she earned a 76 Beyer.

Trainer John Ross said he began to aim Lottacosta toward the Debutante after the My Dear.

"We gave her a little freshening after the stakes, and she's had some nice works," Ross said, emphasizing that he was pleased with Lottacosta's most recent work, in which she went four furlongs in 48.80 seconds. "She's going into it the way I'd like to see her go into it."

The Debutante is traditionally run at six furlongs, but it will be

contested at five furlongs over the inner dirt track Saturday while the Polytrack surface is installed on the main track. Ross said he prefers

to have the race at the shorter distance.

"She won her last race by a neck," Ross said. "Stretching out might be [too far], but she's been maturing as learning as she goes along, too."

Ross said he doesn't think the sharp turns of the inner track will pose a problem for Lottacosta.

"She's a short-coupled type," Ross said. "She's not a long, lanky filly."

Among the others entered are Coy Coyote, My List, and Bear Prayer.

Coy Coyote and My List finished second and third in the My Dear, just a neck apart.

My List, a maiden trained by Nick Gonzalez, should be an off-the-pace threat if the track is kind to closers, as it was last weekend.

Bear Prayer, a first-time starter, was a $100,000 2-year-old purchase by Bear Stable and trainer Reade Baker at the Ocala March sale. Baker, who also trains Coy Coyote, said he wasn't enamored of Bear Prayer at the sale, but his opinion of her has since changed.

"She's worked well here," Baker said. "I didn't have her tattooed in time for a maiden race last week."