03/23/2011 3:36PM

Santa Anita: Lady Sweetness takes on winners after romp

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ARCADIA, Calif. – When the filly Lady Sweetness first arrived at the racetrack, trainer Mike Mitchell knew her career debut would not happen any time soon.

“She looked like a Clydesdale, she was so fat,” Mitchell said. “It took forever to get all that weight off her. She was so big and heavy.”

The weight eventually came off. Two starts into her career, it appears Lady Sweetness was worth the wait.

A 4-year-old, Lady Sweetness missed by a neck in her January debut and then romped by nearly six lengths in a maiden sprint in February. On Friday at Santa Anita, Lady Sweetness faces winners in a seven-furlong filly-mare main-track allowance. Rain or shine.

“I think she can handle everything,” Mitchell said, regarding surface. “She’s a good filly.”

The surface issue is relevant because more rain was forecast this week at Santa Anita. The uncertain weather has complicated the task of racing officials trying to fill five cards per week while uncertain if the turf course will be dry enough for use.

“We’ll keep our eye on the weather and put cards together that will stay together regardless of the weather,” racing secretary Rick Hammerle said.

Although large-sized horses sometimes struggle on wet surfaces, Mitchell is confident that Lady Sweetness will deliver Friday. However, he also believes the daughter of Candy Ride will be her best when she stretches out.

“I think she’ll love seven-eighths, and then she’ll be tuned up and ready to two turns after that,” Mitchell said.

Martin Garcia rides Lady Sweetness.

While the long-term future for Lady Sweetness is positive, she is hardly a cinch Friday when she faces winners for the first time. Meanwhile, the most accomplished runner in the field already has defeated winners four times.

Dani Reese is 5 for 11, with victories in a California-bred allowance, a first-level allowance, and two optional claiming wins in which she raced for a claim price. Dan Hendricks trains Dani Reese, who again will race Friday while eligible to be claimed for $40,000.

River Glow, 8, is the veteran in the field. She has raced 13 times, won three, and moves up in class following a front-running win in a $20,000 claiming sprint.

Other possible starters include Triple Cream, Dave’s Revenge, Elle Dehere, Hopeful Union, Initial Impression, Royal Tiger, and So Nice.