08/31/2006 11:00PM

Moscow Burning set to get even richer

Moscow Burning, at Del Mar last month, is the richest California-bred female in history.

DEL MAR, Calif. - Moscow Burning's reputation, combined with the lack of accomplished rivals and an ideal pace scenario, will make her a short-priced favorite to win Sunday's $125,000 Solana Beach Handicap at Del Mar - and pad her already history-making record.

Moscow Burning, 6, has won 11 of 30 starts and $1,385,000. She became the richest California-bred female money earner with her second-place finish in the Grade 1 John Mabee Handicap here on July 22, squeaking past 1980's star Fran's Valentine's $1,375,465.

Moscow Burning can surpass $1.4 million with a win or a second in the Solana Beach, which is run at a mile on turf for statebred fillies and mares. But anything less than a victory will be unacceptable to owner Don Van Kampen and trainer Jim Cassidy.

Despite losses in her last four starts, Moscow Burning displayed winning form in the John Mabee, losing by a nose to Dancing Edie after a stretch-long duel. She raced on the rail in the final furlong and led briefly before just missing.

"The performance was fine, it just wasn't meant to be," Cassidy said. "So far, she's pretty good, just her old arthritic self."

Cassidy considered Moscow Burning for Saturday's $200,000 Palomar Breeders' Cup Handicap against open company, but Van Kampen insisted on the start against easier statebred company.

Moscow Burning could start against open company in the Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon Stakes at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting on Sept. 30.

In the Solana Beach, Moscow Burning will start from the outside in a field of nine. The post is unlikely to compromise her chances, since she is a stalker expected to save ground in the first half-mile. Moscow Burning will be ridden by Norberto Arroyo Jr., who was aboard for the Mabee Handicap.

Moscow Burning will be tracking expected pacesetters Jill's Sky and Vikki's Honor, both of whom won their last start.

Jill's Sky, trained by Jenine Sahadi, has not raced since winning the Moment to Buy Handicap over 1 1/16 miles on turf at Golden Gate Fields last November. She has led in most of her eight starts, which include three wins.

Vikki's Honor won a $92,000 allowance race for sprinters at Del Mar on July 20, her first start since finishing third in the B. Thoughtful Handicap for statebred fillies and mares at Hollywood Park in April. Trained by Adam Kitchingman, Vikki's Honor is seeking her first win on turf.