11/17/2004 1:00AM

Puxa Saco fragile commodity


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Plagued by foot problems that have limited her career to four starts in the last 15 months, Puxa Saco makes another comeback on Friday at Hollywood Park.

Trainer Jenine Sahadi is hopeful that the minor foot injuries that have limited the 4-year-old Puxa Saco to 13 career starts - she has won five of them - will not affect her winter campaign.

"She's very fragile," Sahadi said. "I've had foot problems with her, but she hasn't missed a beat since I got her going."

Friday's race is Puxa Saco's first start since she finished fifth in the Grade 2 Princess Rooney Stakes at Calder in July. Earlier this year, Puxa Saco won an allowance race over 5 1/2 furlongs on turf at Hollywood. Friday's $43,000 optional claimer over 5 1/2 furlongs on turf is considered a springboard to more lucrative races at the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting.

"She's training well and I've got to start somewhere," Sahadi said. "I'm glad this race is going."

has 10 opponents on Friday, including Market Garden and Jetinto Houston, who finished third and sixth in the California Cup Distaff at Santa Anita on Oct. 16. Another contender is Excessed, who won an allowance race on a wet-fast track at Santa Anita on Oct. 20. She was fourth in a turf sprint at Del Mar in September.

, the likely favorite on Friday, was beaten only a half-length by Our Mango in the Cal Cup. Trained by Bill Spawr, Market Garden rallied from fifth to take the lead in deep stretch but was caught near the finish. Claimed for $80,000 when she won an optional claimer over 5 1/2 furlongs on turf here in July, Market Garden later finished second in the Daisycutter Handicap at Del Mar and won the Pio Pico Stakes on dirt at Fairplex Park.

has drawn the rail on Friday and has enough speed to be a factor from that post. Trained by John Sadler, Jetinto Houston led throughout the Charles Russell Handicap over six furlongs on dirt at Bay Meadows on Sept. 26, scoring by four lengths. In the Cal Cup Distaff, Jetinto Houston tracked the leaders, was within a half-length of the front at the eighth pole, but could not sustain the rally, losing by two lengths.

Friday's race could produce a few starters for the $100,000 Monrovia Handicap over about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita on Dec. 31, including Puxa Saco.

"I'd love to run her down the hill," Sahadi said.