09/22/2007 12:00AM

Selvatica back in Bangles and Beads

EmailSelvatica has come a long way starting with winning the 2006 Bangles and Beads Stakes at Fairplex off nearly a year on the sidelines.

A 6-year-old daughter of Forestry, Selvatica attempts to defend her crown in this year's renewal of the 6 1/2-furlong $65,000 race on Monday, closing day of the Fairplex meeting.

Selvatica won 2 of her next 3 starts following the Bangles and Beads before being transferred from trainer Jeff Mullins to Julio Canani, her current trainer. In her first start for Canani, she finished second in the Grade 3 Las Flores at Santa Anita in February, then she dominated Hollywood Park's Desert Stormer Stakes. That prompted Canani to try her in the Grade 1 Princess Rooney Handicap at Calder Race Course in July. She finished sixth, beaten 6 1/2 lengths by the winner, River's Prayer, and was given the rest of the summer off.

Selvatica breaks from the rail on Monday, the same post she had when she won this race last year. Selvatica appears to be the main speed of the race and should be able to dictate the pace.

The main threats to Selvatica figure to come from Meetmeinthewoods and Ashley's Kitty.

The Doug O'Neill-trained Meetmeinthewoods won an allowance sprint earlier in the meeting. She came from off the pace in that race and will likely do the same on Monday. Last year, Meetmeinthewoods ran third in the 1 1/16-mile CTBA Marian over the track.

The 3-year-old Ashley's Kitty enters the Bangles and Beads Stakes off a decisive victory against older rivals on Aug. 1 in a Del Mar optional claiming sprint. Finishing third in that race was Vikki's Honor, who also runs in the Bangles and Beads. Trained by the red-hot Ted H. West, Ashley's Kitty in the only graded stakes winner in the field, having won the Grade 3 Railbird at Hollywood Park in May. She had a bullet five-furlong drill at Fairplex on Wednesday.

Both Vikki's Honor and Kalookan Lessie figure to offer some early pace pressure, but both have had stamina issues and neither has won this year.

Kalookan Lessie was beaten a half-length by Meetmeinthewoods earlier in the meeting. Vikki's Honor has made only two starts this year, both on the Del Mar Polytrack.

Mighty Clever and the maiden Cole Dancer round out the field.