10/12/2009 11:00PM

Mama Rosa back in a better spot

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ARCADIA, Calif. - After defeating California-bred maidens at Del Mar, Mama Rosa tried open company in a first-level allowance, but the combination of a stronger field and a wide trip compromised her chances.

In Thursday's featured seventh race at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting, she takes a subtle drop into a $44,000 first-level allowance restricted to Cal-breds and faces a smaller field, all of which make her the one to beat.

"On paper, she looks good," said Barry Abrams, her trainer and co-owner. "She never had a shot in her last race. The post put her out of the race. Everybody in front of her was stopping. That made her go wide. She ran deceptively better than it looks."

Mama Rosa broke from the outside post in a field of 10 in that Sept. 5 allowance race going 1 1/16 miles at Del Mar. This time, she landed post 6 in a seven-horse field going a mile on turf. At Del Mar, 1 1/16-mile races start in a chute, so outside posts are really up against it. There is no chute, and its requisite dogleg turn, at Santa Anita.

There is one concern for Abrams, though. He said Mama Rosa "got a little sick on me after we came to Santa Anita, and she missed a work."

"It was the change in temperatures. It was hot here," Abrams said. "After she shipped over, she missed about a week of training."

Mama Rosa will be ridden by Corey Nakatani, who has ridden Mama Rosa in her last three starts, including her maiden win at Del Mar on Aug. 27.

Of her six rivals, only Lunch Money is entered for the optional-claiming price of $25,000. Lunch Money was a four-length winner at Fairplex in allowance company in her first start since being claimed at Del Mar for $25,000 by trainer Doug O'Neill. She ran poorly in her only previous turf try but seems a better horse now, having won three times since then; a fourth victory was negated by a disqualification.

Asanti has finished in the money in all six of her starts. This will be her first race on turf and around two turns.

Warren's Appeal was a distant third to Lunch Money on the dirt at Fairplex last time out, but before that was third in a similar Cal-bred allowance on turf at Del Mar.

Skim Milk chased Mama Rosa in a Del Mar maiden race, then dropped into a maiden-claimer last time out and prevailed.