03/11/2011 3:50PM

Santa Anita: Singapore Lilly may not be fully cranked for China Doll

Benoit & Associates
Cambina, who rallied to win last month's La Habra, will attempt to make it two stakes in a row in Sunday's China Doll.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Based on a solid 2-year-old campaign in Europe, the shipper Singapore Lilly will be among the favorites Sunday when she makes her U.S. debut in the $75,000 China Doll Stakes at Santa Anita.

Seven entered the mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies, including Grade 3 La Habra winner Cambina, 5-for-9 Cathy’s Crunches, and lightly raced European invader Up In Time. If the China Doll was more than just a prep race for the Grade 2 Providencia on April 9, Singapore Lilly would be easy to endorse.

“She’s probably a couple works short of being her best,” trainer Jim Cassidy cautioned.

The objective according to Cassidy is for her to finish.

“If she breaks a little slow I’m not concerned, as long as she shows up,” Cassidy said. “I’ve had two or three riders on her, and all said the same thing – she’s a running s.o.b.”

Victor Espinoza rides 2-for-9 Singapore Lilly, whose best effort was a Group 1 runner-up finish behind 2-year-old colt Biondetti last fall in Italy. Biondetti subsequently finished fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, while Singapore Lilly was sold at auction.

“We paid some money for her,” Cassidy said, referring to the approximate $325,000 tag. Now owned by Jeffrey DeHaven, Singapore Lilly is a small-sized daughter of Mujadil whom Cassidy believes will improve as the season unfolds.

“She’s going to fill out more, she’s going to get stronger,” he said.

While the China Doll is her first start since October, one mile is perfect. “She wants a distance, that’s in her favor,” Cassidy said.

Cambina can also improve while stretching out for trainer Jeff Bonde. She won 2 of 5 last year in Ireland, finished a troubled sixth in her U.S. debut in January, then produced a last-to-first victory Feb. 21 in the La Habra.

Garrett Gomez rides Cambina, whose 3-for-7 record includes a win last summer at 1 1/16 miles. With the benefit of recent U.S. racing, Cambina would be a fitting China Doll winner.

Cathy’s Crunches finished third in the La Habra; she previously won a two-turn stakes at Golden Gate. Cathy’s Crunches will be forwardly placed in a race likely to unfold at a soft pace.

Up In Time won 1 of 3 in Europe; she makes her U.S. debut for trainer Simon Callaghan. Joel Rosario rides. Wallstreeter, Recipient and Secret Cove are also entered.