10/13/2008 12:00AM

Mr.Universo is healthy now


ARCADIA, Calif. - Mr.Universo's ninth-place finish in the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap on Aug. 23 was too poor to be true, trainer Paulo Lobo thought after the race. A day later, the reason became clear. Mr.Universo was fighting an illness.

"He came up with a fever and a little bit of mucus," Lobo said.

The illness is gone and expectations are once again high for Mr.Universo when he starts in an optional $62,500 claimer at 1 1/4 miles on turf at Santa Anita on Wednesday. The race, which drew only five entrants, will be Mr.Universo's third start in the United States.

Mr.Universo won the Group 1 Brazilian Derby in November 2007. He was fourth in his U.S. debut in an optional claimer at Del Mar on July 26 before the disappointing run in the Del Mar Handicap.

"We gave him a little time off and he's training well," Lobo said. "I think he's going to run good. He's a horse that's easy to train. He won a Grade 1 in Brazil and we have good expectations for him."

Mr.Universo should have no trouble with Wednesday's race distance. The Brazilian Derby was run at about 1 1/2 miles on turf. Still, Mr.Universo faces a test.

You Got Me Rocking, third in the Del Mar Handicap, and Prince Rexy, who has never been worse than second, are capable of winning.

You Got Me Rocking finished fifth in the Grade 1 Clement Hirsch Stakes here at 1 1/4 miles on turf on Sept. 27, a start that trainer Mike Mitchell immediately regretted.

"I've been kind of stupid where I've run this horse," Mitchell said. "I've kind of run him over his head, chasing some pretty good horses. I'd like to win a race. He's run some good races."

You Got Me Rocking will be near the front, but could face early pressure from Victorian Prince, who was seventh in the Grade 3 All American Handicap at Golden Gate Fields on Sept. 27.

"That's the key - if no one goes with him," Mitchell said of You Got Me Rocking.

Prince Rexy finished second in an optional claimer here on Oct. 1. Wednesday's race is the longest start of his four-race career.

Lightning Hit, entered to be claimed, is an outsider. He is winless in 13 starts since taking a division of the Oceanside Stakes in 2006.