03/17/2010 12:00AM

McAnally eager to see German filly run


ARCADIA, Calf. - Eclair de Lune was the filly trainer Ron McAnally wanted for his California stable when he made his annual trip to Europe last fall.

Purchased for about $365,000 at the Arqana Arc Sale in France last October, Eclair de Lune joined McAnally's stable over the winter. On Thursday at Santa Anita, the German-bred 4-year-old Eclair de Lune makes her American debut in a second-level optional $62,500 claimer over a mile on turf.

"She was our pick in soundness and disposition," McAnally said. "She's been ready to run for a while. We missed a few days because of the weather. We couldn't work her on the grass.

"She's right on target. She's definitely fit."

Now owned by Richard Duchossois, Eclair de Lune has won 2 of 6 starts and was third in a Group 3 over about 1 1/4 miles on turf at Deauville last August. Last June, she finished eighth of 12 in the Group 1 French Oaks.

Thursday's one-mile distance may be on low end of Eclair de Lune's range, McAnally said.

"I do think she wants to run longer," he said. "A mile might be short for her. If she runs the way she acts in the morning, she looks good."

Eclair de Lune, who will be ridden by Joe Talamo, raced from a stalking position in Europe. She may have a pace to follow in Thursday's race from Sheza Maneater or Zilla.

Trainer Mike Mitchell needs pace for Welken to follow. A 6-year-old mare, Welken has won 4 of her last 6 starts and was second in a race at this level over 1 1/8 miles on turf on Feb. 19, finishing a half-length behind the well-regarded A Jealous Woman.

Welken, who is entered to be claimed for $62,500, won three consecutive races over a mile on turf from early December to late January.

"Hopefully, there is a little more speed in there," Mitchell said. "Last time, we ran our race and we got outrun."

Mike Smith retains the ride on Welken, having been aboard for her last two starts. Smith rode another runner in Thursday's race, Damaniyat Girl, to a 10th-place finish in the Grade 2 Buena Vista Handicap on Feb. 15.

Trained by Eoin Harty, Damaniyat Girl will be ridden by Garrett Gomez on Thursday and will wear blinkers. She wore blinkers in a stakes win over six furlongs on turf in England last October.