01/08/2004 12:00AM

No Turbulence still fresh for Kachina


PHOENIX - When No Turbulence finished third last year in the Kachina Handicap at Turf Paradise, she may have been feeling the effects of her previous start, when she was shipped to Sunland Park and back. This year, No Turbulence has stayed home, and her consistently sharp form makes her the one to beat in Saturday's $40,000 Kachina, a mile event for fillies and mares that has drawn a field of eight.

No Turbulence, trained by Eric Kruljac, comes off two defeats, but she ran well in both. She was third to Southern California import Abbey Bridge in the Nov. 22 Queen of Green on the turf, a surface over which she has yet to win. No Turbulence came back to be fourth in the Dec. 13 Mesa Handicap, a 6 1/2-furlong dirt sprint in which she chased Knoll Lake, queen of the female sprint set here.

The mile on dirt of the Kachina may be her best game. The 120-pound highweight, No Turbulence worked a half-mile in 45.80 seconds on Jan. 6 and looks ready to roll.

Imperatriz Rafaela, second-weighted at 119 pounds, comes off a game win at a mile on the turf, and she is proven on dirt, too. Trained by Bart Hone, Imperatriz Rafaela ran in Brazil early in her career and in Southern California the last few years.

Two others can challenge, and they're quite familiar with each other. Moonlit Maddie (119) and Aspen Hill (118) have split their last four meetings. In her first start in over seven months, Moonlit Maddie, trained by Bill Tollett, finished third to Imperatriz Rafaela on Dec. 13. Moonlit Maddie may be fitter after that race and a bullet five-furlong work in 59 on Jan. 5.

Aspen Hill, trained by Dan McFarlane, hasn't run since the Sun City Handicap in May. The last time she ran at a mile on the dirt, she won the Bersid here. She's worked strongly for her comeback.