04/17/2006 11:00PM

My Nana Lavana's big figure may be legit


ALBANY, Calif. - One of the hardest situations to read for handicappers involves a horse that has shown marked improvement in his previous race.

Was it a fluke or does it portend even better things to come?

Golden Gate Fields handicappers face that tricky situation in Thursday's feature.

earned a career-best 70 Beyer Speed Figure when she won her maiden for a $28,000 claiming tag at Santa Anita on April 5. It surpassed her previous best by 27 points.

It's the highest Beyer in the field of six 3-year-old fillies going six furlongs in a $40,000 starter allowance race, but can she do it again?

Dramatic Beyer increases often lead to major bounces, but that might not be true for My Nana Lavana.

She earned only a 19 Beyer in her debut, showing speed for a half-mile before stopping. She held on better in her second start, earning a 43 Beyer, an increase of 24 points, before winning her third start in her last race.

While handicappers may be wary, the steady rise hints that this is an improving filly. Even though she won at a low claiming level in Southern California, My Nana Lavana is not facing a particularly tough field in this race for horses that have never won twice.

lost her first three starts in Southern California, then came north to win for a $32,000 maiden tag while showing an 11-point Beyer improvement.

Lazer Park also came north and recorded a career-best Beyer while running second, beaten 10 lengths at this level. She hopped at the start and then took up to be last in a field of four but was second-best behind a runaway winner.

showed a 56-point turnaround in her last start, but she probably ran her normal race after setting the pace before being virtually eased in her first route try. Purplenme is a true sprinter and should be the one to catch in this field.

Garden Angel won her debut in November while showing some speed. Condition is a question, however, following a long layoff.

Southern Jazz has run consistently in her two starts, winning a competitive $32,000 maiden claimer, then running third behind Lazer Park.