01/04/2003 12:00AM

Shalini sticks her neck out at the wire

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ARCADIA, Calif. - Shalini can throw all the tantrums she wants in the saddling paddock as long as she runs as well as she did in Saturday's $100,000 Pro or Con Handicap at Santa Anita.

After proving very difficult for trainer Craig Dollase to saddle, Shalini responded with her first stakes win in the one-mile race for California-bred fillies and mares on turf.

Ridden by Corey Nakatani, Shalini ($9.60) rallied from last in the final half-mile to beat Serene in Seattle by a neck. Shalini was timed in 1:35.09.

"She's tough on herself, but she's consistent on the racetrack," Dollase said. "She can get a little mental."

Shalini was last for the first half after being squeezed at the start, and raced well behind the pace of 23.78 and 47.97 seconds set by Jenna's Joy.

Turning for home, Jenna's Joy was joined by Nicole's Pursuit, Calzada Kid, and Serene in Seattle. In the stretch, Serene in Seattle went by those three to take the lead, but could not hold off Shalini.

"I loved where we were at," Dollase said. "I knew she'd have that kick."

Shalini races for breeders Jim and Richard Briere. A 4-year-old filly, she has won 3 of 13 starts and $158,770.

Shalini will be considered for a race on the Sunshine Millions program for California-breds and Florida-breds on Jan. 25. But instead of pointing for the Filly and Mare Turf at Gulfstream Park, Dollase said Shalini may stay at home for the $750,000 Sunshine Millions Distaff over 1 1/16 miles on dirt.

"I know she's better on turf, but I don't really want to ship," he said.