03/07/2012 1:32PM

Santa Anita: Sage d'Oro has better spot in Friday route

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ARCADIA, Calif. – Circumstances forced Sage d’Oro into a tough allowance race for sprinters last month.

She finished second to the well-regarded Princess Arabella, a performance that trainer Mike Mitchell considered to be progress. When Sage d’Oro starts in an optional claimer for 3-year-old fillies over 1 1/16 miles at Santa Anita on Friday, Mitchell believes that conditions will be in his filly’s favor.

“She’s ready to go to two turns,” he said.

The loss to Princess Arabella over seven furlongs was not an ideal distance, Mitchell said. “I didn’t want to do that, but it was the only race that would fill and she was ready to go.”

Owned by William Sims, Sage d’Oro won a maiden race over 1 1/16 miles on Dec. 11, her third career start and first for Mitchell. She led throughout and won by a half-length. Mitchell says that stakes are in Sage d’Oro’s future, but probably not until the spring.

“She’s a nice filly,” Mitchell said. “I’m taking my time. I feel if I run her against stakes company, I’d like to wait until Hollywood. I think this is a good spot.”

Sage d’Oro is part of a field of seven in the optional claimer. The only filly in the field with American stakes experience is Assure, who was sixth in the Blue Norther Stakes on turf here on Dec. 30.

Two fillies won their last starts – Speedway Monkey, in a maiden race on turf on Jan. 27, and Gittel, in a starter allowance on Jan. 26.

Gittel is the only filly in the field entered for an $80,000 claiming price.

The field includes a European import in Jemima’s Pearl, the winner of a maiden race on an all-weather surface at Dundalk, Ireland, last August.

Trained by Simon Callaghan, Jemima’s Pearl has not started since finishing sixth of 10 in a stakes there last October. Callaghan envisions Friday’s race to be a test of how Jemima’s Pearl handles a conventional main track.

“She’s a filly we like a lot,” he said. “We thought this was a good time to try it now. We have a lot of turf horses.”

Mitchell’s stable had four winners last week, and could have a big day on Friday. In the seventh race, he starts Lil Miss Macky in an optional claimer for California-bred fillies and mares on the hillside turf course.