04/24/2014 1:48PM

Marks Mine dangerous in Spring Fever

Shigeki Kikkawa
Marks Mine, a top female sprinter in Northern California, goes for her first Santa Anita stakes win in the Spring Fever on Saturday.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Marks Mine has developed a reputation as a top female sprinter in Northern California in the last two years, compiling four stakes wins. Her record at Santa Anita is not as strong.

A winner of 8 of 16 starts, Marks Mine is winless in three starts at Santa Anita, a trend she will try to reverse in Saturday’s $125,000 Spring Fever Stakes at Santa Anita. The Spring Fever, for California-bred fillies and mares at six furlongs, is one of five stakes for statebreds on Saturday’s Gold Rush card.

Marks Mine was third in the California Breeders’ Champion Stakes for 3-year-old fillies here in January 2013, her local debut. She was ninth of 11 in the Evening Jewel Stakes two months later, but emerged with an excuse.

[California Gold Rush: Get PPs, watch Saturday's card live]

“She was buried on the inside and came up with a little virus afterward,” trainer Steve Specht said. “That’s about the only time she’s run a clunker.”

In the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Sprint on the hillside turf course on Jan. 25, Marks Mine set the pace but hopped in the air when making the transition from the hillside turf course to the main oval. She finished second by a half-length to Ciao Bella Luna.

“She probably got herself beat,” Specht said. “She leaped coming onto the main track and went from being a half-length in front to a half-length behind. It might have cost her.”

In the Spring Fever Stakes, Marks Mine has drawn the rail in the field of eight. Jockey Frank Alvarado figures to use her speed.

“I’d prefer to be outside,” Specht said. “It forces me to send her. I’d like to have had the option of sitting off someone. It’s not like I’m going to take back from the inside.”

Our Pure Creation, who is making her stakes debut, could challenge Marks Mine early.

[DRF Live: Get live reports and handicapping insights from Santa Anita this Saturday]

Marks Mine has earned $363,854, all for breeders Larry and Marianne Williams.

“She’s a gutty, trying little thing,” Specht said. “She’s runs every time. She’s not invincible, but she’s not a horse that runs a big race and then runs a [bad] race.”

Marks Mine is one of two stakes winners in the field, along with Warren’s Veneda, who won the Cat’s Cradle Handicap at Hollywood Park in November.

The Spring Fever Stakes is the first start for Warren’s Veneda since a third-place finish in the Grade 2 Bayakoa Stakes at Hollywood in December. She will be a threat as a stalker.

The race is the first start of 2013 for Top Kisser, who was seventh in the Osunitas Stakes at Del Mar last July, her most recent start.

Halo Dolly big favorite

Halo Dolly, the winner of 10 stakes and 18 races in her 37-race career, will be a heavy favorite to win the $100,000 Fran’s Valentine Stakes for fillies and mares at a mile on turf.

Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Halo Dolly, 6, won the Dream of Summer Stakes on dirt here on March 23. The Fran’s Valentine will be her first start on turf since a win in an allowance race at Golden Gate Fields in November. Halo Dolly’s biggest win came in the Grade 2 Yellow Ribbon Stakes on turf in 2012.

Halo Dolly’s competition in the Fran’s Valentine includes Dancingtothestars, who won the Megahertz Stakes here in January, and the four-time stakes winner Unusual Way, who was second in the Dream of Summer Stakes.

Rousing Sermon in easier

Hollendorfer also runs Rousing Sermon in the $125,000 Tiznow Stakes at a mile. Owned by the Williamses, Rousing Sermon was sixth in the Santa Anita Handicap on March 8, finishing 14 1/4 lengths behind winner Game On Dude.

The Tiznow will be Rousing Sermon’s first start against California-breds since a win in the On Trust Handicap at 7 1/2 furlongs at Hollywood in November.

Rousing Sermon drew the inside in the field of seven that includes Soi Phet, who was third in the Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes last September; Lakerville, a stakes-winning turf sprinter; and Storm Fighter, who led throughout an optional claimer for California-breds on April 5.