02/04/2006 12:00AM

Olaya returns off strong U.S. debut


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - If at first you don't succeed . . .

That old adage certainly applies to the $39,000 allowance feature at Gulfstream Park on Monday, when trainer Graham Motion tries for the second time in three days to get Olaya's 2006 campaign under way.

was one of five horses scratched from Saturday's Grade 3 Suwanee River Handicap because of rain. The weather was supposed to clear by Monday, but there was still a question of how much the turf course would dry out by post time for the race.

Olaya made a favorable first impression in her U.S. debut, rallying to defeat Spotlight by a neck in Aqueduct's Grade 2 Long Island Handicap on Nov. 5. She has trained forwardly at Palm Meadows for her return, although as was the case if she had run in the Suwanee River, trainer Graham Motion is concerned that the 1 1/16-mile distance of Monday's race could be a bit short for his long-winded filly.

"The distance is a little shorter than she wants, but she's pretty sharp at the moment and ready to run," said Motion.

Olaya is already proven over less-than-firm turf, winning a listed stakes in France at 3 over a good course and finishing second in listed stakes company in France at 2.

A field of nine was entered for Monday's race, including multiple Grade 1 winner Amorama, who will make her first start since being transferred to trainer Bobby Frankel's barn following her fourth-place finish in Santa Anita's Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon. Amorama won both the John C. Mabee and Del Mar Oaks for former trainer Julio Canani.

Cape Hope has not started since finishing fifth in the Grade 3 Regret Stakes at Churchill Downs in June. She won both the Gaily Gaily and Grade 3 Herecomesthebride over this course last winter.

Malibu Mint, a winner of her last three starts, all on the main track, including Calder's Chaposa Springs Handicap, will try turf for only the second time in her career and will likely be the one to catch.

* An attempt by the racing office to fill "two-other-than" allowance races for 3-year-olds at either six furlongs or a mile failed for the second consecutive day when entries closed Saturday for Monday's card.

The two races, put up as extras on the overnight, closed with only one entry in the six-furlong race and three in the mile.