05/26/2003 11:00PM

Pertuisane short price off last win


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Pertuisane has to win Thursday's second race at Hollywood Park just to keep pace with two fillies she beat in an optional claimer on May 2.

In her California debut and victory on May 2, Pertuisane rallied from fourth to finish a half-length in front of Chiming and 3 1/2 lengths in front of Runaway Pro.

Last weekend, Chiming won the Yerba Buena Breeders' Cup Handicap at Bay Meadows and Runaway Pro won an allowance race at Hollywood Park.

Pertuisane figures to be a short price in the $58,000 allowance race over 1 1/16 miles on turf. A 4-year-old who races for a partnership and trainer Bobby Frankel, Pertuisane will be challenged by five other fillies and mares, four of whom have won or placed in stakes.

Pertuisane has stakes experience. She placed in two minor stakes in France at 2 and 3 and was third in the Grade 1 Garden City Breeders' Cup Handicap at Belmont Park last September, her first start for Frankel. The allowance race win this month came in her 2003 debut.

The opposition Thursday includes Shalini and Castling, the first- and fifth-place finishers in the Fran's Valentine Stakes for California-breds on April 26; Consignada, who won an optional claimer for sprinters on May 4; and American Czarina and Melody Blue, who were unplaced in stakes in their last starts.

Castling was an unlucky fifth in the Fran's Valentine Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on turf. She was well placed on the final turn, but was caught in traffic and unable to rally until the field was well into the stretch. Castling won the Valkyr Handicap at a mile on this turf course last July.

Shalini could threaten the favorite. Her late kick has led to two stakes wins on turf this year and a runner-up finish in the California Cup Distaff Handicap at Santa Anita last fall.

Consignada is expected to set the pace. Trained by Ron McAnally, she has won 2 of 5 starts since arriving from Chile last year. Both of her wins have come on the main track with her on or near the lead.

American Czarina and Melody Blue would be surprise winners.

American Czarina has not started since finishing fifth in the Golden Poppy Handicap at Bay Meadows last October.

Melody Blue won an optional claimer at Santa Anita on March 2, but was eliminated from contention in the Wilshire Handicap on April 27 when she had trouble on both turns.