Updated on 09/16/2011 8:00AM

Osunitas new start for Noches de Rosa

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Benoit & Associates
Reine De Romance starts in the Osunitas Handicap at Del Mar on Wednesday.

DEL MAR, Calif. - For the second straight year, trainer Richard Mandella will try to win Del Mar's $75,000 Osunitas Handicap with a South American import making her first start in this country. But that's about all that Paga, who won the race last year, and Noches de Rosa, who runs on Wednesday, have in common.

Paga had keen speed, and led from start to finish to win the 2001 Osunitas. Noches de Rosa takes far longer to get revved up, and will be trying to mow them down late.

"Paga was a real speed freak," Mandella said Monday. "She was high-strung, excitable. This filly is real quiet. She sits back and makes a run. She likes a mile and a quarter, a mile and a half. I hope she doesn't need a mile and a half, because there aren't any races like that."

Noches de Rosa will have to get motoring early. The Osunitas covers just 1 1/16 miles on turf. She benefits by breaking from the rail, whereas the race's likely favorite, Reine de Romance, drew post 10. A maximum of 10 can run. Eleven were entered, with Skywriting, the horse assigned the least weight, on the also-eligible list.

Noches de Rosa has not raced since Dec. 17, when she won the Group 1 Chilean Oaks, her fifth win in 11 starts. Mandella said he hoped to find an allowance race for her.

"That would have been an easier spot to get her started, but there weren't any available, so we have to start here," he said.

Fernando Toro, the former jockey, arranged the purchase of Noches de Rosa for Gerald Ford's Diamond A Racing Corporation.

"Fernando saw her tapes and recommended her," Mandella said. "I thought she looked like a good one, so we went after her. She's won from six furlongs to a mile and a half. It's nice to see that she can do more than one thing."

Reine de Romance, who carries top weight of 120 pounds, most recently finished third in the Grade 3 Royal Heroine Stakes at Hollywood Park. She has won four of her last nine starts, and has finished in the money in seven of those races.

"She runs good every time," said Jenine Sahadi, who trains Reine de Romance. "I wasn't thrilled with the 10-hole. She's not an easy horse to train. She doesn't want to settle. You've got to grab her from the get-go. But she's got a great turn of foot. If she settles down, and makes a run, she should run good."

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