12/28/2007 12:00AM

Is mile too long for Exquisite Timing?

EmailARCADIA, Calif. – A hopeless performer on synthetic tracks, Exquisite Timing salvaged her season when she won her turf debut in October in her fourth start.

Her next test comes in Sunday’s $75,000 Blue Norther Stakes, a one-mile turf race for 2-year-old fillies at Santa Anita.

Trainer Jim Cassidy tried Exquisite Timing three times on synthetic tracks in August and September, watching her finish third, fourth, and ninth. Cassidy did not like what he saw, to the extent that he eventually abandoned working her on the surface.

For the Blue Norther, Exquisite Timing will run in the longest race of her career against a solid field. The one-mile trip is a slight concern to Cassidy.

“She might have distance limitations,” Cassidy said.

Exquisite Timing is coupled in the betting with Raiding Party, who is also trained by Cassidy. Both are owned by Tom Braly.

Raiding Party arrived from England shortly before Christmas, and will make her turf debut in the Blue Norther. She made three starts on synthetic surfaces in England, finishing fourth in her debut August before winning six-furlong races in September and October.

“I don’t know what she beat, but I like her,” Cassidy said. “Exquisite Timing may be a little better, but this filly has more seasoning.”

Raiding Party is one of four imports in the Blue Norther, which will have a full field of 12. Brides Folly is making her first start for trainer Mike Puhich after winning 1 of 4 starts in France. She beat males in August in her third start and was last in a stakes against males in October.

Trainer Bobby Frankel starts Ariege, who was unplaced in two Group 2 stakes in England and Ireland in late summer. She won her debut by seven lengths in July.

The most accomplished local filly is Golden Doc A, who has won 2 of 7 starts. She won the Anoakia Stakes over six furlongs in October and was later third in the Grade 3 Miesque over a mile on turf at Hollywood Park on Nov. 24. Golden Doc A finished 1 1/2 lengths behind Sea Chanter, a loss that left trainer Barry Abrams encouraged.

“I thought it was a good race, as she was running against fillies that were seasoned going two turns,” Abrams said. “She had to do all the work. She showed improvement and I expect a big effort.

“She’s so strong. She’s gained weight and she looks unbelievable. I wanted to give her a break, but she doesn’t want it.”

Two promising fillies prepare for comebacks

Magnificience and Zada Belle, 3-year-old fillies that had brilliant starts to their careers but were sidelined by injury, worked on Friday for expected comebacks early next year.

Magnificience, the winner of the Grade 3 Santa Paula Stakes here last April, worked three furlongs in 36.80 seconds under retired Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, who occasionally works horses. Trained by Bruce Headley, Magnificience was sidelined with a bone chip in an ankle last spring.

Zada Belle has made one start, winning a maiden race over 5 1/2 furlongs by nine lengths here in October 2006. She was purchased privately by Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley Stable shortly after that race, and has not started since.

Now based with trainer Eoin Harty at Hollywood Park, Zada Belle is “about a month away at the most” from a start, Harty said. “She’s been off for a year, but she’s staying together right now. We’ll see how far she can get.”

Reflect Times sharp in stakes prep

Reflect Times remained unbeaten after two starts with a late-running score in an allowance race on Friday at Santa Anita. The race could serve as a prep to the $200,000 Robert Lewis Stakes over 1 1/16 miles on Feb.?3.

Ridden by David Flores, who had four wins on Wednesday, Reflect Times closed from last in a field of six to win the 6 1/2-furlong race by a length over Gayego, the 3-5 favorite.

“I’m surprised he’s doing this well going 6 1/2 furlongs,” Shirreffs said. “Now it’s time to go two turns.”

Owned by Koji Maeda, the Japanese-bred Reflect Times won his debut at Del Mar on Sept. 1 in similar style, rallying from 10th in a field of 11 to reach the front in the final furlong. Shirreffs said that Reflect Times “just needed some time” off during the fall.

Graded stakes winner Truly a Judge retired

Truly a Judge, the winner of the 2002 Claiming Crown Jewel and two graded stakes in the winter of 2004-05, was retired earlier this month, trainer David Bernstein said.

Bernstein said Truly a Judge has been sent to the California Retirement Equine Foundation in Winchester, Calif.

Truly a Judge, 9, won 12 of 53 starts and $764,342. Claimed by Gaylord Ailshie, Alan Aidekman, and Tom Harris for $20,000 in 2001, Truly a Judge won the Grade 3 Native Diver Handicap in December 2004 and the Grade 3 San Gabriel Handicap in January 2005.

The San Gabriel was the final win of his career.

“He’s left a big hole” in the stable, Bernstein said.

Earlier this month, Truly a Judge was entered in a claiming race at Hollywood Park, but was scratched.

“He’s just not right,” Bernstein said. “We thought maybe he was trying to tell us something. He’s not 100 percent.”