03/02/2010 1:00AM

Motion poised for a big day


ARCADIA, Calif. - Saucey Evening and Smart Seattle may provide trainer Graham Motion with a breakthrough day at Santa Anita on Thursday.

Motion's small California stable has had one win from 12 starters this winter, but he could have a winner, or two, on Thursday for owner George Strawbridge's Augustin Stable.

"It's been a little bit of a frustrating meeting, more than anything getting the right distances," Motion said by phone earlier this week from the East Coast. "Hopefully, we'll get a shot on Thursday."

Saucey Evening, the champion California-bred 2-year-old filly of 2008, has drawn the rail in the second race, an allowance over 1 1/16 miles on the synthetic main track. The $52,000 race will be her first start since a sixth in the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf over 1 1/8 miles on Jan. 30. That distance may have been beyond her reach, Motion said.

"I think, in retrospect, it was a bit of a stretch," Motion said. "Hopefully, we can get a good handle on her."

A winner of 4 of 13 starts and $354,939, Saucey Evening won the Starine Stakes over a mile on turf at Hollywood Park last December and was third in the Cascapedia Stakes over seven furlongs on the synthetic track here last October.

"We want to get her in a conservative spot," Motion said of Thursday's race. "She seems to be training well. I think the Hollywood Park race is much more a true bearing of her ability."

Saucey Evening races from off the pace and must catch Lady Alex, who has won three of her last four starts and is expected to be favored.

Thursday's seventh race over 1 1/16 miles will be Smart Seattle's first start on a synthetic track since a second in the Jessamine Stakes at Keeneland in October.

Smart Seattle was fourth as the 2-1 favorite in an optional claimer over a mile on turf here Jan. 29 under jockey Rafael Bejarano, her first start since a ninth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf in November.

"I thought Rafael had nowhere to go in the last quarter-mile," Motion said. "I thought it was a very competitive race as well."

Motion also has Zilva, seventh in the BC Juvenile Fillies last November, in Thursday's seventh race, but said she could be scratched in favor of Saturday's Santa Anita Oaks.