01/25/2007 12:00AM

Mistical Plan back to best distance


ARCADIA, Calif. - Mistical Plan returns to her strength in Saturday's $250,000 Sunshine Millions Oaks at Santa Anita - sprinting.

Last summer and fall, Mistical Plan won 2 of her 3 starts in sprints, a maiden race at the San Joaquin County Fair in Santa Rosa and the Cover Gal Stakes at Santa Anita in October.

The win in the Cover Gal, combined with placings in two graded stakes in recent months, makes Mistical Plan a leading contender in the Oaks, which is run over six furlongs for California-breds and Florida-breds.

"I think she's so naturally a sprinter that it will be easy on her," said trainer Doug O'Neill of the switch from a route to a sprint. "We know she likes this track. Hopefully, she gets a nice trip from off the pace."

O'Neill has three of the 13 starters in the Oaks. He also starts the improving Super Freaky, who ran second in an optional claimer on the hillside turf course on Jan. 15, and Go Ray Ray, a front-runner who will be making her stakes debut.

The Oaks is really an all-California affair. While there are three Florida-breds in the field - Sekira, Super Freaky, and Tizthen - all of the fillies have been based in California throughout their careers.

Sekira, a two-time winner at the Hollywood Park fall meeting, finished third in the Grade 2 Santa Ynez over seven furlongs on Jan. 15. She led to early stretch before fading.

"She never gave up," trainer Dan Hendricks said.

Making something of a quick return, Sekira may be better suited to the six-furlong distance of the Oaks, Hendricks said.

Sekira drew post 2, which is likely to force jockey Alex Solis to keep her near the front to maintain position.

"Out of the 2 hole, we'll be forwardly placed," Hendricks said.

There is ample speed to go with Sekira, including A.V. Flynn, the lone shipper from northern California. Trained by Steve Miyadi, A.V. Flynn is unbeaten in two starts, but has not raced since winning the Solana County Juvenile Fillies Stakes last July.

The California-breds Tiz Elemental and Toll Road are making their stakes debut following maiden wins. Tiz Elemental won a maiden race on the hillside turf course on Dec. 31, while Toll Road was a sharp seven-length winner of a maiden race for California-breds over six furlongs on Jan. 6.

The six-furlong distance will suit Prenuptial, who won the Generous Portion Stakes over that distance against California-bred fillies at Del Mar last summer. She is winless in her last three starts.