09/20/2007 11:00PM

Phantom Ali threat to end Bootleg Annie's streak

EmailSAN MATEO, Calif. - Since moving to Bill McLean's barn and switching to the turf, Phantom Ali has proven to be a solid runner. She has a tough task on Sunday at Bay Meadows, however, when she meets six other 3-year-old fillies in a $40,000 optional claimer.

One of the fillies she meets is Bootleg Annie, who guns for her sixth straight victory. She has won 7 of her last 8 starts.

Phantom Ali won her maiden for a $25,000 tag at Stockton on June 17 in her second start. She moved to McLean's barn and split the field in a starter allowance sprint July 20 at Santa Rosa. McLean then switched her to the turf.

"I had her sister Woodford Princess, and she really turned things around when I put her on the turf," McLean said.

Phantom Ali lost her turf debut by a nose at Santa Rosa and won her second turf start at the Bay Meadows Fair. Both races were $40,000 starter allowance races for runners with only a maiden victory.

McLean made the logical move in her last start, boosting her up to allowance company against older horses. Phantom Ali sat close to a slow pace but came up empty in the lane and finished sixth.

"She was done early, but I don't know why," McLean said. "She was meeting older, but I think the big thing was I ran her back too quickly, in only two weeks. And it was her third start in a month."

McLean has given the filly three weeks off, and she has a nice seven-furlong work since her last start.

"She's not a very big filly, so a little more time should help her," McLean said.

The race may be a tactical one. None of the runners really seems interested in taking the lead.

Bootleg Annie could inherit the lead. She usually stalks the pace and is vying for the lead by the quarter pole. Bootleg Annie, the lone runner entered for a tag, has won 6 of 7 turf starts, including the Wende Stakes at Turf Paradise on April 21. She was third in her other grass appearance.

Betrluckythangood went wire to wire in her maiden win, and draws the rail here. She is stakes-placed on the turf.

Count Me Twice, who pressed an honest pace before fading in her turf debut, might also be in contention early. Her lone victory came in an $8,000 maiden claimer, so going all the way might be a tough assignment here.