02/22/2007 1:00AM

Selvatica debuts for new barn in Las Flores


ARCADIA, Calif. - When Selvatica amassed a five-race winning streak in 2005 and 2006, trainer Julio Canani admits that he did not follow her progress.

"I didn't pay too much attention," he said.

Canani is more aware of Selvatica's ability now. Selvatica joined Canani's stable earlier this year after being acquired for $560,000 at the Barretts January mixed sale. A 6-year-old mare, Selvatica makes her first start for new owner Marsha Naify and Canani in Saturday's $100,000 Las Flores Handicap at Santa Anita. The Grade 3 Las Flores is run over six furlongs for fillies and mares.

"I've only had her for a month," Canani said. "So far, she's doing good."

Selvatica won three minor stakes for female sprinters last fall before finishing 11th in the Grade 3 Monrovia Handicap on turf on Jan. 1, her final start for breeders Granja Vista Del Rio Stable and trainer Jeff Mullins. Granja Vista Del Rio Stable conducted a dispersal of its holdings at Barretts last month.

A winner of 6 of 10 starts and $219,720, Selvatica is a confirmed front-runner, and has drawn post 11 in a field of 12 in the Las Flores. She will face early pressure from Maryfield, Hello Lucky, Secret Scheme, and Spirit to Spare - and must hold off late threats from Hystericalady and Nossa Cancao.

Hystericalady, 4, has not started since finishing fifth in the Grade 2 Delaware Oaks last July. She won the Grade 2 Hollywood Breeders' Cup Oaks last June, the most significant win in her seven-race career. She won sprinting earlier in her career.

Hystericalady and Secret Scheme are trained by Jerry Hollendorfer. Secret Scheme was third in the Grade 1 Santa Monica Handicap over seven furlongs on Jan. 28, leading to early stretch.

Nossa Cancao finished second in the Santa Monica, closing from eighth.

Maryfield can also lead throughout. A 6-year-old mare, she won the Very Subtle Stakes on the Breeders' Cup undercard at Churchill Downs last November, her most recent start at six furlongs. Trained by Doug O'Neill, Maryfield finished fourth in the Santa Monica.

Canani is not worried that Selvatica will be exposed to too quick of a pace. He says she has been cooperative in training in recent weeks.

"She goes easy," Canani said. "She's not speed crazy. She's been doing what I ask her to do."