01/23/2008 1:00AM

Princess Amelie likely choice, turf or dirt


ARCADIA, Calif. - Ideally, Princess Amelie will make her turf debut in Friday's third race at Santa Anita, an optional claimer for California-bred females on the hillside course at about 6 1/2 furlongs. Trainer Ron Ellis is eager to try the 4-year-old filly on grass, with the goal of eventually moving away from sprints.

The potential for wet weather, though, may disrupt those plans and force Friday's race onto the main track, where it would be run at 6 1/2 furlongs.

Regardless of the surface, Princess Amelie will be favored to stay unbeaten.

Owned by breeders Woodside Farms, Princess Amelie made a dazzling debut at Hollywood Park last month, pulling away in the final furlong to win a maiden race at 6 1/2 furlongs by six lengths. She was 7-2 that day, but will be a shorter price on Friday.

"She's always trained like she had a lot of talent," Ellis said. "I've always liked her. I think this was a good time to try her on the grass, especially in the Cal-bred ranks."

Princess Amelie will be ridden by Joe Talamo, who was aboard for the maiden win. Princess Amelie is a half-sister to Collect Call, the winner of the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel Stakes in 2001, and has a pedigree that suggests that she will handle longer races.

"I think she wants to run farther," Ellis said.

Princess Amelie is one of three fillies and mares in Friday's race who won their last start. Witchy Meeting, a half-sister to the stakes winner Shaggy Mane, beat maidens in her fourth start here, on Dec. 30. Trained by Tim Yakteen, Witchy Meeting will break from the rail.

Tutta Bella beat maidens at Del Mar in July 2006, her most recent start and the sixth race of her career.

In Friday's race, Princess Amelie is likely to be in pursuit of a quick pace. Kiss the Cooke, third in an optional claimer for statebreds on Jan. 1, and Tutta Bella have speed.

Kiss the Cooke returned from a 14-month layoff on Jan. 1. Trained by Brian Koriner, Kiss the Cooke led to the final furlong in an optional claimer at 6 1/2 furlongs before fading to finish third.

Koriner, for one, is hoping Friday's race is switched to the synthetic main track.

"I'd probably prefer it," he said.