01/16/2002 12:00AM

Mysterious Cat likely choice


ARCADIA, Calif. - A losing streak will end for someone in Friday's seventh race at Santa Anita.

One of the six older horses entered in a $50,000 allowance race for California-breds can end a losing streak that range in length from one race by Take It Outside to 18 by the overmatched Retsina Year.

The six-furlong allowance race is the feature on an eight-race program. The $75,000 Paseana Handicap for fillies and mares was scheduled for Friday, but was canceled when it failed to draw sufficient entries.

The likely favorite in Friday's race is Mysterious Cat, who won his maiden at Del Mar last summer but is winless in three subsequent starts. Most recently, he was third against California-breds in a seven-furlong allowance race on Dec. 30.

Trained by Ted H. West, Mysterious Cat was beaten a length on Dec. 30 after setting a quick pace and fading in the final furlong.

That race was his first start since he finished fifth in the British Columbia Derby at Hastings Park last September.

Friday's shorter race, combined with a sharp workout of three furlongs in 34.20 seconds that he turned in on Sunday, makes him a leading contender.

Take It Outside is likely to be a factor on or near the lead. Trained by Paco Gonzalez, he won a maiden race for statebreds on Nov. 7, but was a well-beaten fifth after a getting a poor start in his debut against winners on Dec. 8.

Of the closers, Re Echo is well drawn in the outside post. Trained by Mike Harrington, he was fourth beaten two lengths on Dec. 30, finishing a length behind Mysterious Cat.

A fast pace would help Re Echo's chances. Winless in his last four starts, he won a $50,000 claimer for 3-year-olds over six furlongs here last October. Speedy Pick and Another Gear will be longer prices.

Earlier in the program, Copelan's Eagle, a 12-year-old who is the oldest Thoroughbred in training in Southern California, may make his second start of the month.

Trained by A.C. Avila, Copelan's Eagle finished fifth in a six-furlong race for $10,000 claimers on Jan. 11. Copelan's Eagle is on the also-eligible list for the sixth race, run over 6 1/2 furlongs for $10,000 claimers.

Avila said that even if Copelan's Eagle draws into the race he is not a definite starter.

"I'll see how the track is playing," Avila said. "I believe he can run like a fresh horse. I thought last time that the track was too loose. He never gave anything of himself that day."

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