07/25/2002 11:00PM

Rosanda on her home field


SANTA ROSA, Calif. - Handicappers can look at any number of factors as they analyze races.

But there is a factor that won't appear in print when they weigh Rosanda's chances as she meets seven rivals in Sunday's $40,000-added Luther Burbank Handicap at the Sonoma County Fair.

Rosanda is owned by the Robert H. Walter Family Trust, and the Walters, who live in nearby Sebastopol, like nothing better than winning races here.

"This is home," Barbara Walter said. Their Vine Hill Ranch, she said, "is where everybody started off."

The Walters have bred and raced many good horses, including Kentucky Derby runner-up Cavonnier, who won his maiden race at the Sonoma County Fair, and more recently Tout Charmant.

In 1995, their Batroyale, who won both the Sorrento Stakes and Del Mar Debutante at Del Mar, and Cavonnier were voted the champion California-bred 2-year-old filly and 2-year-old male, the first time two juveniles with the same sire and owner have ever swept the awards. That same year, the Walters also campaigned another 2-year-old named Argonnier, who won the Redwood Empire Stakes at the Sonoma County Fair.

They have cut back on their Thoroughbred operation and have only 10 2-year-olds in training, four colts and six fillies.

The Walters like to run their horses at their "home track."

"It's the best," Barbara Walter said. "Our only regret is they don't do anything with it during the year. Many times Mr. Walter has met with people and tried to get them to keep it open as a training center."

Rosanda has won three of 22 starts, earning $165,656. She was stakes-placed as a 2-year-old before she won her maiden race, and she ran second in the Santa Clara Handicap at Bay Meadows this spring.

"We thought she'd go on and do even better as a 2-year-old. That's when we expected great things from her," Walter said.

But Rosanda, a 4-year-old filly, struggled during her 3-year-old year, going winless in eight starts.

She ran second in her final start of the year when she was shipped north from Southern California, and she has two wins and a second in six starts this year.

Rosanda is a typical Walter homebred. Her sire is their Robannier and her dam is their Slusanda.

She drew the outside 8 post for the 1 1/16-mile Luther Burbank. My First Lady, who beat her by eight in the Santa Clara, is the 120-pound highweight in the race for older fillies and mares. She drew post 9.

The field from the rail out, is Miss Terasita, Catz, in her main-track debut, My First Lady, Mimi's Cafe, Pheiffer, Bandango, De Goddaughter and Rosanda. De Goddaughter just defeated similar to win the Alameda County Fillies and Mares Handicap at Pleasanton.

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