01/24/2005 12:00AM

Mea Domina a wild card

Email
Benoit & Associates
Mea Domina starts in Santa Anita's seventh race on Wednesday.

ARCADIA, Calif. - It's hard to guess who will be more nervous Wednesday: the bettors chasing a pick six carryover of $143,319.66 or trainer Ron McAnally as he gets ready to saddle Mea Domina in the featured seventh race.

McAnally will be holding his breath Wednesday, hoping his talented 4-year-old filly does not unravel like she did before the La Brea Stakes on Dec. 27.

had won her two prior starts and seemed like a live longshot in the La Brea, but she was in no mood to cooperate while being saddled, nor before being walked into the starting gate. McAnally said he has spent the past four weeks trying to get Mea Domina to calm down, but admits he does not know what to expect Wednesday afternoon.

"She had problems that needed to be corrected," he said. "We've had her in the paddock the last five days and every day after she gallops, and she's been to the gate four times."

When Mea Domina is good, she's very good. She vaulted straight from a victory against maidens to a win in the Harold Ramser Handicap at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting last October. Both of those starts were on turf, and she is returning to that surface Wednesday in a second-level allowance race at one mile.

Gary Stevens has ridden Mea Domina in her last two starts, but he is serving a three-day suspension that begins Wednesday, so Tyler Baze will take over.

Seven others entered the race, most notably , who showed promise last year for trainer Bobby Frankel before going to the sidelines. Boasting was second in her debut, then won two straight races, but she has raced since May.

"She's had her problems," Frankel said. "She cracked a pastern last year. She didn't need surgery."

Frankel said Boasting is a big filly. Asked if she could develop into a top filly, he said, "If she can stay sound."

comes off a second in the Audrey Skirball-Kenis Stakes at Hollywood Park. She is trained by Richard Mandella, who has come out blazing at Santa Anita, with 11 wins in 22 starts.

has steadily improved since arriving from Brazil and comes off a victory against a first-level allowance field at Hollywood Park.

Moonlight Cruise should improve with a return to the grass.