11/03/2005 12:00AM

Mea Domina back sooner than planned


ARCADIA, Calif. - The absence of turf racing at the Hollywood fall meeting has made Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000 at Santa Anita the most important turf race in California between now and the resumption of racing at Santa Anita on Dec. 26.

A one-mile race for fillies and mares, the Las Palmas has drawn 10, including Mea Domina, the winner of the Grade 1 Gamely Breeders' Cup Handicap at Hollywood Park in May.

Absent since that race because of a quarter crack, Mea Domina was being prepared for the Hollywood Park meeting, but that track will not offer turf racing because of the unsatisfactory condition of a course that was installed in recent months.

Trainer Ron McAnally said Mea Domina's fitness "is a question," but said she worked well in recent weeks.

"She's done it nicely and I think she'll be fit enough," he said.

McAnally has another starter in the race, the improving Dream's, who is seeking her sixth consecutive win. Owned by Tom Lenner, Dream's was a listed stakes winner in Chile in 2004 and is unbeaten in four starts in this country, including the minor Swingtime Stakes at a mile on turf here on Oct. 7.

"We thought she was a good filly," McAnally said. "I look at a lot of videotapes of horses down there. What impressed me was her action, and she was running on some bad turf courses when they were chewed up. Yet her action really impressed me."

The two McAnally-trained runners complement each other. Mea Domina is likely to lead, and Dream's is best as a stalker.

A quick pace would help Elusive Diva, who won the Grade 3 Sen. Ken Maddy Handicap at about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course on Sept. 28, her third stakes win this year.

Trainer Mark Glatt said it is essential that Elusive Diva relaxes early under Patrick Valenzuela.

"It seems as she gets a little older, she's able to relax," Glatt said. "If they don't relax in the early stages, they can't finish. She's learning to relax.

"I think turf helps her and more experience helps her," he said. "She's been a good workhorse, but she's doing it differently. She's not as headstrong."

Also running are the graded stakes winners Bright Abundance, Halo Ola, Pickle, and Star Parade. Halo Ola was third in the Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon on Oct. 1, a day before Star Parade was second in the Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup Handicap.