02/01/2012 3:18PM

Santa Anita: La Sombre in spot she waited for

Benoit & Associates
La Sombre, with David Flores up, wins her maiden race at Del Mar.

ARCADIA, Calif. – La Sombre was entered for the $100,000 Valentine Dancer Stakes at Santa Anita last Saturday, a race that did not have great appeal to trainer Brian Koriner as it grew closer.

Koriner scratched the 5-year-old La Sombre in favor of an optional claimer for fillies and mares over about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course on Friday. He said he hesitated in trying La Sombre in the one-mile Valentine Dancer Stakes because of a disrupted training schedule caused by wet weather in late January.

“It gives us more time,” Koriner said of Friday’s race. “We didn’t get to work last week because of the weather. It didn’t work out for that race.”

Owned by a partnership, La Sombre has won 2 of 7 starts. She was second in the other five races. By Unusual Heat, La Sombre won an optional claimer for California-bred females on the hillside turf course by 6 1/4 lengths on Jan. 12, her first win since August. La Sombre made one start at 3, and has made the other six starts of her career since early July.

“She’s just needed time,” Koriner said. “She had little problems behind. Hopefully everything goes good and we’re on our way.”

Friday’s race could lead to a start in the $100,000 Irish O’Brien Stakes on March 17, Koriner said.

Friday’s seventh race drew an oversubscribed field of 13 that will be limited to 10 starters.

La Sombre breaks from the rail and must beat Gelila, unraced since winning a maiden race over a mile on turf here in October, and Sarasota Sunshine, who was second in a race over her conditions last March.

Earlier in the program, Indian Firewater, the winner of the Grade 2 San Fernando Stakes here in January 2011, can end a six-race losing streak in a $63,000 allowance race over seven furlongs.

Trained by Bob Baffert, Indian Firewater has been favored in his last three starts, all second-and third-place finishes against similar company. The race drew five entrants, all with stakes experience. The Baffert-trained Tweebster was second in the 2011 San Fernando, but is winless in his last six starts.

Dreaminofthewin, stakes-placed in the Midwest last year, makes his California debut and first start for trainer Bruce Jackson. A 4-year-old colt, Dreaminofthewin has not started since October, plagued by foot problems.

“He had a lot of trouble back there, but that’s gone,” Jackson said. “We just need to get him started.”