01/18/2003 1:00AM

'Puxa' out for three straight stakes


ARCADIA, Calif. - The stretch duel appears to be the favorite part of racing for Puxa Saco, who will attempt to extend her stakes-winning streak to three races in Monday's $150,000 Santa Ynez Stakes at Santa Anita.

In two starts for trainer Jenine Sahadi, Puxa Saco is unbeaten, having won the six-furlong Anoakia Stakes here on Oct. 20 and the seven-furlong Moccasin Stakes at Hollywood Park on Nov. 16. In both races, Puxa Saco rallied from fourth to reach contention on the turn, and put away the competition to win by a length or more.

"What I like is when you hook her, she fights back," Sahadi said. "She gets a little sassy. She doesn't like it when she's got horses next to her." Puxa Saco's affinity for a battle may be tested in the Santa Ynez when she faces five others, including Elloluv, the upset winner of the Hollywood Starlet Stakes at Hollywood Park on Dec. 14.

The other four 3-year-old fillies entered are all searching for their first stakes win.

The seven-furlong distance of the Santa Ynez may be ideal for Puxa Saco. In five starts, she is unbeaten in sprints, with her only loss a third in the Brave Raj Stakes over a mile and 70 yards at Calder in late September.

Following that performance Puxa Saco was sent to Sahadi.

"I'll route her at some time," Sahadi said. "She's a smaller-size filly, and I wasn't crazy about the Starlet. I don't have a lot of horses, so I have to do the right thing. I think the timing of this race is good."

Mike Smith rides Puxa Saco, who is likely to go favored over Elloluv.

Elloluv, trained by Craig Dollase, led throughout the Starlet Stakes, pulling away in early stretch to finish four lengths clear of heavily favored Composure, who had finished second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies.

Before her 30-1 upset in the Starlet, Elloluv finished third in her debut at Bay Meadows on Oct. 20 and won a six-furlong maiden race at Hollywood Park on Nov. 10.

Both Elloluv and Puxa Saco figure to be stalking the pace of No Love Song, who led throughout when she won a maiden race at Fairplex Park and an optional claimer at Hollywood Park last month. The Santa Ynez will be No Love Song's stakes debut.

Watching You, second in the Moccasin, will be close, while Buttertart, second in the California Cup Juvenile Fillies, is a closer.