03/19/2004 12:00AM

No Ema good news for Sahadi

Email

ALBANY, Calif. - Trainers Jenine Sahadi and Donna Elordi have two things in common heading into Sunday's $55,000-added Soviet Problem Handicap at Golden Gate Fields.

Both have fast, talented runners, and both are glad not to be facing what could be California's top female sprinter, Ema Bovary, in the six-furlong race.

The Southern California-based Sahadi sends up Annabelly, a winner of three straight, to make her stakes debut. Elordi counters with multiple stakes winner Pheiffer, who is coming off a victory in the Richmond Handicap here.

The two will meet five other fillies and mares in the race named for the runner-up in the 1994 Breeders' Cup Sprint.

Annabelly, equally adept on turf or dirt, has moved through her conditions easily in Southern California. She has plenty of speed but likes to sit in a stalking position, a style that should have her just off speedball Grant Marty a Wish and Pheiffer.

Helping Annabelly is an outside draw, while Pheiffer drew the rail and Grant Marty a Wish post 3.

Sahadi explained she intended to run Annabelly against Ema Bovary in last month's Grade 3 Las Flores at Santa Anita until the track came up wet. "I wasn't about to try against Ema Bovary on a track that Ema Bovary loved," Sahadi said.

"She's a very nice filly, and the distance and time are good," Sahadi said of Annabelly. "She had a lot of piddly things and was small as a 2-year-old, but she had a lot of talent. It's easy to be patient when they have talent. She's pretty quick."

Pheiffer is similar to Annabelly in that she has speed but doesn't necessarily need the lead, even though her two stakes victories have come in wire-to-wire fashion.

"She tries as hard as she can try every time," Elordi said. "Some days she has a little more to give.

"She's training nicely. I'm trying to keep her happy and do enough but not too much. I'm trying to have her like last time."

Grant Marty a Wish has won two straight, including a $50,000 optional claimer here March 5.

"I thought she ran a big race, and she's doing very, very good," said Ruben Cardenas, trainer of Grant Marty a Wish.

While the race will probably be decided up front, should the three speed horses wear themselves out early, Christmas Time and Devil Dancing could be tough in the lane.

* Ema Bovary, who has won eight straight, is heading east to Keeneland for the $175,000 Vinery Madison on April 7. She will work here Monday and fly out Thursday.