03/03/2010 12:00AM

Salve Germania starts her season


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Salve Germania tossed jockey Javier Castellano in the paddock and behind the starting gate prior to her U.S. debut last summer at Saratoga in the Grade 2 Ballston Spa Handicap. Those pre-race antics merely served as a prelude to her shocking victory over some of the best turf mares in the country, including Grade 1 winner Rutherienne.

Salve Germania faces no such competition and hopefully will be better behaved when she makes her south Florida debut Thursday at Gulfstream Park. A $51,000 second-level allowance at 1 1/16 miles on the turf, the race drew 15 entries, including trainer Christophe Clement's stakes winner Providanza and the Group 3-placed Aaroness. Twelve are allowed to start.

Salve Germania was trained by Waldemar Hickst but was prepared for the Ballston Spa by Todd Pletcher, who kept the daughter of Peintre Celebre in his barn after her smashing U.S. bow. Salve Germania made one more start in 2009, shipping across the border to Woodbine for the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor, where she finished a nonthreatening fifth behind Lahaleeb following a wide trip.

Salve Germania had won just one of eight starts prior to coming to this country last summer, although she was competitive in Group 3 races in both Germany and France earlier in her career. She has worked steadily for her return over the past two months, with the majority of her drills coming over the turf course at the Palm Meadows training center.

Castellano, who has been piling up the victories over the turf course here of late, retains the mount.

Like Salve Germania, Providanza's last start also came on Oct. 17, when she finished seventh after forcing the early pace of the Calder Oaks. Fourth, beaten a length, in the Group 3 Prix Chloe last summer at Chantilly, Providanza has won at both a mile and 1 1/4 miles. She shows only four works at Payson Park in preparation for her return.

Aaroness, who must draw in off the also-eligible list, has posted one victory in four starts since arriving from Ireland and joining trainer Michael Matz's barn last summer. A winner of a first-level allowance race at Churchill Downs in her 2009 finale, Aaroness will get some class relief Friday after opening her campaign with an eighth-place finish in the Grade 3 Suwannee River on Feb. 6.