04/15/2002 11:00PM

Maturing Milagra seeks third straight win


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Trainer Art Sherman hopes his hot streak will continue when he saddles Milagra in Thursday's feature race at Bay Meadows.

Milagra needed 12 starts to win her maiden but now has won two straight races. She will try to make it three in a row in Thursday's six-furlong $40,000 optional claimer against five other older fillies and mares.

Milagra is owned by Mr. and Mrs. Jerome Moss, who have begun sending horses to Sherman.

"The last three I've run for them have won," Sherman said.

Milagra, a 4-year-old filly by Maria's Mon, is typical of the horses that the Mosses have sent to Sherman. For whatever reason, the horses they have sent to him have not been successful in Southern California.

Weaker competition may have something to do with the success of the Moss horses here. For Milagra, a return to the dirt after a series of races on the turf might account for her victories.

Sherman thinks Milagra's success is simply a case of maturing, but he and his son and assistant, Steve, have helped to settle her down.

"She's on the nervous side," Sherman said.

"We schooled her a lot, and she's kind of finding out what's what. Some horses are just late bloomers."

Milagra had some success on turf and earned checks consistently both sprinting and routing.

She finally won her maiden in a six-furlong sprint, going wire to wire.

She laid off a sizzling pace in her first try against winners and rallied strongly to win.

That effort impressed Sherman.

"The other day was a big race, coming off the pace," he said. "She ran awesome. She's learned to rate and settle down."

Both of Milagra's victories came under Jason Lumpkins, but he is serving a three-day suspension.

"It's tough to lose a jock who has two wins with her," Sherman said.

But Sherman is not complaining too loudly. He got leading rider Russell Baze to take the call.

Thursday's race will be a tough test for Milagra.

Boca Dream, who was claimed for $32,000 when she fell a neck short of scoring a repeat victory, comes north from Southern California and is sharp. She has seven career victories, as does the stakes-placed Linda Love, who has finished third at this level in her last two starts.

Rosanda is still looking for her first sprint victory but had a big race in the Soviet Problem Handicap in her last start.

Look Into the Past and Adorable One each trailed badly at this level in their last start, but both were making comebacks and should improve off those efforts.

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