07/25/2008 11:00PM

Misty Ocean on a roll


DEL MAR, Calif. - Misty Ocean, the stakes-winning 3-year-old turf filly had her own triple crown of sorts this spring. On the same weekends as the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes, Misty Ocean won turf races in California.

The final win of the sequence, the Grade 2 Honeymoon Handicap at Hollywood Park, came hours after Da' Tara won the Belmont Stakes on June 7.

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer considered starting Misty Ocean in the Grade 1 American Oaks at Hollywood on July 5, but passed it up in favor of Saturday's $150,000 San Clemente Handicap at Del Mar. If Misty Ocean runs as well as expected, there will be further opportunities in Grade1 races later this year.

Misty Ocean will be favored to win her fourth straight race in the Grade 2 San Clemente Handicap, which has drawn a field of 10 3-year-old fillies. The race is run over a mile, the same distance as Misty Ocean's first win on turf, which came in an optional claimer at Bay Meadows on May 2, the day before Big Brown won the Kentucky Derby.

Misty Ocean has drawn the outside post in the San Clemente, and will be prominent early, according to Dan Ward, Hollendorfer's assistant.

"We don't have much choice," Ward said. "She's the kind that just takes off."

In the Honeymoon over 1 1/8 miles on turf, Misty Ocean led by two lengths on the far turn and was headed in the stretch, but won by three-quarters of a length. "She won with something left last time," Ward said.

The San Clemente has drawn six stakes-winning fillies, four of whom won graded stakes. Misty Ocean could be in an early tussle for the lead with Storm Mesa and Tasha's Miracle, who are making their first starts on turf.

Storm Mesa has won her last four starts, including stakes at Lone Star Park and Prairie Meadows. Tasha's Miracle won the Grade 2 Sorrento Stakes here last August and was third, beaten a head, in the Grade 2 Hollywood Oaks last month.

Trainer John Sadler was encouraged when Tasha's Miracle worked "head and head" with the graded stakes winner Black Mamba earlier this month. "She went well on turf the other day," he said.

Bel Air Sizzle is a threat from off the pace. She was second in the Honeymoon, but ninth in the American Oaks.

"She got outclassed," trainer Barry Abrams said.

Alex Solis rides Bel Air Sizzle and has instructions to be patient. "You make one run and have confidence she can get there," Abrams said.