12/07/2007 12:00AM

Purse hikes for selected Santa Anita races

EmailINGLEWOOD, Calif. - Santa Anita has increased purses for top-end overnight races and starter allowances for its upcoming winter-spring meeting that begins on Dec. 26.

The condition book, detailing the races for the first two weeks of the meeting, was released on the track's website on Friday.

During the first few days of the meeting, a maiden race for 2-year-old filly sprinters is being offered with a purse of $48,000. The race was worth $46,000 last year. A first-condition allowance race on the hillside turf course will have a purse of $52,000, an increase of $2,000 from last year.

Racing secretary Rick Hammerle said purses were raised $2,000 per race for maiden special weight races, allowances, and for claimers in races with a value of $50,000 or more. Purses for starter allowance races were raised $1,000 per race.

"Everything went up proportionally," Hammerle said.

Hammerle said that starter allowance race purses were increased because "they're popular and the races have served its purpose," he said.

Starter allowance races are written for the winners of maiden claiming races that have not won two races in their careers.

Santa Anita had a successful 2006-07 winter spring meeting, ending the meeting with a record all-sources daily handle of $11.8 million. The figure marked a 1 percent increase over the 2005-06 meeting. In July, Santa Anita made a retroactive purse payment of $1,590,000 to owners whose horses earned purse money at the winter-spring meeting.

Hammerle is optimistic that the upcoming meeting can be equally strong, citing a full stable area and feedback from horsemen who are anxious to run horses.

"Everyone is just teeming with horses," he said.

Country Star lined up for Starlet

Country Star, the winner of the Grade 1 Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland in October, is the top candidate for next Saturday's $250,000 Hollywood Starlet Stakes, the last Grade 1 of 2007 for 2-year-old fillies.

Despite her recent major stakes win, Country Star will face numerous challengers in the Starlet, which is run over 1 1/16 miles.

The race is expected to include Foxy Danseur, Grace Anatomy, Grace and Power, Initiation, Spritely, Sunday Geisha, The Golden Noodle, and Time Reveals All.

Sunday Geisha and Time Reveals All are trained by Marty Jones. Sunday Geisha won a maiden special weight race over 1 1/16 miles on Nov. 8, her first start since finishing sixth in the Grade Oak Leaf Stakes at Santa Anita on Sept. 29.

Jones said that Sunday Geisha's participation hinges on a workout this weekend. She must be supplemented for $10,000 when entries are due on Wednesday.

"If she works well, we'll run her," Jones said. "She'll have to be supplemented, so we'll have to make sure everything is on."

Jones is optimistic that Sunday Geisha can be a factor in the Starlet, even though she was beaten in the Oak Leaf.

"I think she had something left in the tank" in her maiden race, Jones said. "She didn't have a smooth trip in the Oak Leaf."

Time Reveals All has made one start in a stakes, finishing fourth in the Moccasin here on Nov. 11.

Nashoba's Key has two stakes options

Nashoba's Key, the dominant turf female in California this year, is not a certain starter in next Saturday's $150,000 Dahlia Handicap over 1 1/16 miles on turf, trainer Carla Gaines said on Thursday.

Fourth in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Monmouth Park on Oct. 27, Nashoba's Key could be held out of the Dahlia in favor of the $150,000 San Gorgonio Handicap over 1 1/8 miles on turf at Santa Anita on Jan. 6.

Gaines said she was attracted to the San Gorgonio distance and the condition of the Santa Anita turf course, which has not been used since early November. "It's a mile and an eighth and the course is pristine," she said. "I haven't decided what I'm going to do."

The 4-year-old Nashoba's Key suffered her first career defeat in the Filly and Mare Turf, finishing two lengths behind Lahudood.

Wins set up pair for Santa Anita stakes

Seminole Native and Wind's Legacy, the winners of allowance races at Hollywood Park on Thursday, will be pointed for stakes at Santa Anita in January.

Seminole Native will be pointed for the $1omillion Sunshine Millions Classic for California-breds and Florida-breds on Jan. 26.

"He likes the Cushion Track, he likes Santa Anita and I think that's the place to go," trainer Jorge Gutierrez said.

Third in the California Cup Classic on Nov.o3, Seminole Native rallied from last to win Thursday's race over 1 1/16 miles. Ridden by leading rider Garrett Gomez, Seminole Native was sixth at the eighth pole, and won by a length over Add Heat in 1:41.70.

"I was a little worried at the five-sixteenths pole," Gutierrez said. "He picked it up and it was impressive."

Wind's Legacy won his second consecutive race in an allowance over 1 1/16 miles for 2-year-olds. Ridden by Jon Court, Wind's Legacy overcame traffic on the final turn to win by 2 1/2 lengths in 1:42.39.

"I was a little concerned but he handled it," Court said of Wind's Legacy's traffic problems. "He keeps stepping up."

Wind's Legacy is the top horse in trainer Jennie Green's seven-horse stable. Green said she would consider a stakes for Wind's Legacy's next start. One likely option is the $150,000 San Rafael Stakes over a mile at Santa Anita on Jan. 12.

Rocket Legs erases Lava Man's record

Rocket Legs set a track record for 1 1/4 miles winning an optional claimer in Friday's third race at Hollywood Park. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Rocket Legs was timed in 2:01.79, much quicker than Lava Man's time of 2:03.21 in the Hollywood Gold Cup last June.

The distance is used rarely on the main track.