07/12/2008 12:00AM

One turn helps Mistical Plan turn it around

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MIAMI - Mistical Plan, who has spent most of her career racing at distances of a mile and beyond, may have found her true niche when she turned back to six furlongs to dominate Saturday's $400,000 Princess Rooney Handicap by 5 3/4 lengths over Miraculous Miss. Dream Rush, the even-money favorite, finished a tiring third.

Mistical Plan ($18.20), who finished third going 1 1/16 miles in Belmont's Grade 1 Ogden Phipps Handicap four weeks earlier, had won her only previous start at six furlongs when she captured the Sunshine Millions Oaks at 3. The Princess Rooney was her first Grade 1 win.

With jockey Corey Nakatani aboard, Mistical Plan stalked the early pace of Dream Rush, engaged the favorite before a half-mile, then readily pulled well clear once leaving the eighth pole. Miraculous Miss, who finished fifth in the 2007 Princess Rooney, rallied from her usual spot at the rear of the pack to finish second, a head in front of Dream Rush.

"That was unbelievable," said trainer Doug O'Neill, who watched the Princess Rooney from California. "What a thrill. We've never lost faith in her, although we've been disappointed in a few of her runs lately. But the last race in New York and this performance today obviously make her a big-time player in the fall classics."

O'Neill, who trains Mistical Plan for owner J. Paul Reddam, said he'll definitely consider keeping his filly around one turn.

"I'll talk it over with Mr. Reddam, but I think her real brilliance is her natural speed, and there's a good chance we'll keep her sprinting now. I also have to thank Calder trainer Larry Bates for taking such great care of this filly while she was in south Florida. We couldn't have done this without his help."

The Princess Rooney is a Breeders' Cup Challenge Series Win and You're In race and earned Mistical Plan a guaranteed berth in the BC Filly and Mare Sprint at Santa Anita in October.

Azalea: Indyanne stays a perfect 4 for 4

Indyanne justified the confidence of her trainer, Greg Gilchrist, who called her the best horse he's ever trained at this point of her career, when she pulled away to an eye-catching 9 1/2-length victory over Dubai Majesty and five other overmatched 3-year-old fillies in the Grade 3, $250,000 Azalea Stakes.

The victory was the fourth in succession for Indyanne, a daughter of Indian Charlie, who has yet to be tested in any of her four career starts. Owned by Jill and David Heerensperger, Indyanne returned $3.20 after covering six furlongs in 1:10.82 over a fast track. Her final time was just 0.06 of a second slower than the older Mistical Plan ran the same distance later in the day.

Indyanne did have to face an early challenge for the first time in her brief career when she was engaged for the lead by Dite Moi. The pair zipped through an opening quarter in 21.39 seconds before Indyanne gradually asserted her superiority and edged clear after a half in 44.99. She then extended her advantage, with jockey Russell Baze keeping her under steady urging to the end.

"She didn't break as well as she usually does, but it sure didn't take her long to jump into the race," said Gilchrist, who campaigned Sprint champion Lost in the Fog. "I was a little concerned when they put up 21-and-one for the opening quarter, but Russell looked comfortable where he was at, and when I see him start looking back under his arm, like he did nearing the stretch, I get pretty confident."

Gilchrist said Indyanne would likely make her next start in the Grade 1 Test at Saratoga on Aug. 2.

Carry Back: Traffic doesn't halt Golden Spikes

Sometimes trouble during a race can be a blessing in disguise. At least that's what trainer Marty Wolfson felt after Golden Spikes overcame some traffic problems entering the far turn to outfinish a game Gentleman James for a three-quarter-length victory in the $250,000 Carry Back Stakes. The result was identical to the finish of the Unbridled Stakes here four weeks earlier.

Jockey Elvis Trujillo had to steady Golden Spikes to avoid running up on the leaders while racing along the rail near the three-eighths pole of the Grade 2 Carry Back. Golden Spikes had to angle four wide when commencing his bid entering the stretch before running down a determined Gentleman James in the final strides.

Gentleman James set a relatively slow but pressured pace, repulsed bids from Carson's Legacy and Hypocrite leaving the turn, edged clear again near midstretch, but could not resist the winner's late surge. Lantana Mob rallied five wide to finish third.

Golden Spikes, a son of Seeking the Gold, is owned by former major league pitcher Rob Murphy's M375 Thoroughbreds and the Suarez Racing Stable. He ran six furlongs in 1:11.20 and paid $4.60.

"I was a little concerned at the time, but it was probably to our advantage he had to check back going into the turn," Wolfson said. "That enabled him to get to the outside, where I think he's more comfortable, and to make his move a little later than he might have down on the rail."

Wolfson said he'll look for something "at seven furlongs" for Golden Spikes's next start, possibly the Grade 1 King's Bishop at Saratoga.