04/27/2006 11:00PM

Moscow Burning still imposing turf mare

Moscow Burning is nearing the earnings record for a Cal-bred female.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - When trainer Jim Cassidy checked Moscow Burning after her game second to Shining Energy in the American Beauty Handicap at Santa Anita on April 8, he was surprised to learn that she had bled.

"It was significant," he said. "She ran through it. That's how tough she is."

A recurrence of that incident in Sunday's $150,000 Fran's Valentine Stakes at Hollywood Park remains a concern for Cassidy, but he is quick to point that she did not bleed from the lungs after working six furlongs at Santa Anita on April 23.

"She worked all right. She was clean," he said.

Despite the minor setback earlier this month, Moscow Burning will be a standout in the Fran's Valentine, which is run at 1 1/16 miles on turf for statebred fillies and mares. It is a division that Moscow Burning has dominated in recent seasons.

She was named the California-bred horse of the year in 2004, a season highlighted by a win in the Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay Handicap at Belmont Park. Last year, in a campaign interrupted by injury, her only win in four starts came in the California Cup Distance Handicap in November.

opened her 2006 campaign with wins in the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf in January and the Pro or Con Handicap in February.

Moscow Burning, 6, has won 11 of 27 starts and $1,269,000. She is slowly closing in on Fran's Valentine's all-time earnings record for a statebred female of $1,375,465.

"You can only take so many shots," Cassidy said. "The Fran's Valentine is the ideal race for her. We will run out of California-bred races soon enough."

What makes Moscow Burning even more dangerous is that she can lead - she was on the front in California Cup Distance Handicap - or come from off the pace. In the Pro or Con Handicap at a mile, she was sixth in a field of seven for the first half-mile, and stormed home with a wide rally to beat Alphabet Kisses.

Sunday, Moscow Burning will be in pursuit of Dancing Edie, who like Moscow Burning is by Moscow Ballet. Trained by Craig Dollase, Dancing Edie was third in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks on turf last summer and is seeking her first stakes win.

"They have a target, and it's me," Dollase said.

ran a smart race in her second start of the year at Santa Anita on April 2, leading throughout an optional claimer for statebreds at 1 1/8 miles on turf. In her 2006 debut, Dancing Edie was a well-beaten fourth in an optional claimer on dirt.

"I was happy to see how she did last time," Dollase said. "The comeback wasn't her. I think the turf races are the spots to contend with for now."