03/04/2009 1:00AM

Reba Is Tops steps up after long layoff


ARCADIA, Calif. - Reba Is Tops has won 8 of 13 starts in Washington and Northern California, starting as a sprinting claimer and developing into a multiple stakes winner.

It is time for a new test. Friday, she makes her Santa Anita debut in a $60,000 allowance race at about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course. In addition to racing on a new circuit, Friday's race will be Reba Is Tops's first start since a third-place finish in the Hastings Park Handicap at Emerald Downs last May.

A 5-year-old mare, Reba Is Tops was out of training last summer because of illness, trainer Mark Glatt said. Since she was given ample time to recover, he thinks she will be ready Friday.

"She's never been tested at this level," Glatt said. "I think the 6 1/2 [furlongs] will suit her style. I think I've got her pretty fit off a layoff."

Reba Is Tops began working for Glatt at Santa Anita in January. The allowance race will be her second start on turf. Last April, she won the Monterey Handicap going five furlongs on turf at Bay Meadows, rallying from sixth in a field of eight to win by a length.

"Her turf race at Bay Meadows was extremely impressive," Glatt said. "She's worked well on turf. I think she might end up being a better turf horse."

For her debut on the hillside, Glatt is not worried about Reba Is Tops's fitness.

"It's my experience that horses that run off the hill don't have to be as fit as they do on the dirt," he said. "I think it will be a good test on where she fits here."

The field of 10 is led by Gotta Have Her, who has placed in three graded stakes since late August. Six other fillies and mares - Lettre Spirituelle, Mission Viejo Halo, Porto Marmay, Ransom Captive, Sprung, and Star of Whitney - have been stakes-placed. Satan's Circus was a stakes winner in France last year.

Gotta Have Her was second to Foxysox by a half-length in the Grade 3 Tuzla Handicap at a mile here Jan. 25.

Friday's race will be the shortest in Gotta Have Her's 16-race career since she won over the same course and distance in February 2007.

"We're trying something new," said her trainer, Jenine Sahadi. "Every time, she does what she's supposed to do."