08/24/2001 11:00PM

Miss Santa Ana takes on winners


DEL MAR, Calif. - Miss Santa Ana lived up to her reputation with a six-length win in her career debut on July 23 at Del Mar. On Monday, she makes her first start against winners in a six-furlong allowance race for California-bred fillies and mares, a race she can win despite a tough draw.

The 3-year-old Miss Santa Ana drew the rail against seven opponents. In her maiden race, where she was sent off at 8-5, she broke well from post 2 and led early, experience that will work to her advantage on Monday. She will be ridden by David Flores, one of the top gate riders on the circuit.

Miss Santa Ana comes from a successful family. Guillermo, her full-brother, won the 1999 Real Good Deal Stakes at Del Mar, and her half-brother, Rio Oro, won the 1998 San Miguel Stakes at Santa Anita. Owned by David and Holly Wilson and trained by Vladimir Cerin, Miss Santa Ana will be pressured early for the lead.

Sturge Weber, claimed in her last start for $32,000 on Aug. 11, and Shining Britely, the winner of a starter allowance for ex-claimers on July 25, have shown speed, but it is more likely that the closers will be a bigger threat to Miss Santa Ana.

Bella Drive, an impressive maiden winner at Hollywood Park on June 17, makes her second start against winners. Trained by Ben Cecil, Bella Drive was a well-beaten fourth in an allowance race on July 29 after being bumped at the start and racing wide on the turn. A better start could be the difference.

Cheatin Cat and Memoree can win. Cheatin Cat was second by a nose in a $50,000 claimer on Aug 13, and a troubled seventh in the same race as Bella Drive on July 29. She won a claiming race for maidens against 2-year-olds at Del Mar last year. Memoree was claimed for $20,000 at Hollywood Park last month and has subsequently run fourth and second in allowance races. A fast pace could put her in the winner's circle, but she will have to catch Miss Santa Ana to get there.