11/02/2002 12:00AM

She handles any surface, age group


ARCADIA, Calif. - The milestones continue to accumulate for Super High in 2002. The 3-year-old Super High won her fourth stakes of the year in Saturday's $150,000 California Cup Matron Handicap at Santa Anita. All have been against different types of competition on various surfaces.

The Matron was one of 10 races run on the 13th annual California Cup Day at Santa Anita. The program offered purses of $1.3 million.

This year, Super High has beaten statebred 3-year-old fillies on turf in the Sires Stakes, won an open stakes against 3-year-old fillies on turf in the Flawlessly Stakes, defeated older statebreds on turf in the Solana Beach Handicap, and finally scored in the Matron against older females on dirt.

In the Matron, Super High ($5.20) was always in control. Ridden by Patrick Valenzuela, the front-running Super High was never seriously challenged, running 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.64. She set fractions of 23.20 and 47.31 seconds and stretched a half-length lead on the final turn to 2 1/2 lengths at the finish.

Broke the Slump, a 15-1 shot, was second throughout, finishing two lengths in front of Elaine's Angel in the field of seven fillies and mares.

Super High has won six of 12 starts and $456,348 for owner-breeder Harris Farms. The win came 19 days after she finished second in a division of the Ramser Handicap on turf.

"She's a lot more settled and more professional than the beginning of the year," trainer Carla Gaines said. "My biggest concern was running her back in two weeks. She's a small filly, and all her races are gate-to-wire. She fights."

Distance: Nicole's Pursuit by a bob

Nicole's Pursuit won her first stakes in the $100,000 Distance Handicap, but only after holding off a determined Shalini through the stretch. Only a nose separated the two fillies at the finish. They were so close that Shalini appeared to have the lead in the stride before and after the finish.

"It was a sweet bob," winning trainer Craig Lewis said.

Nicole's Pursuit ($7.80) ran 1 1/4 miles on turf in 2:01.93. Ridden by Kent Desormeaux, Nicole's Pursuit was always near the front, following pacesetter Exclusiveandcatty, who set fractions of 24.72 and 48.83 seconds.

Shalini, who was fourth on the backstretch, rallied wide to reach contention on the final turn and had the first jump on Nicole's Pursuit, who moved around the tiring pacesetters entering the stretch. Shalini led passing the eighth pole, but Nicole's Pursuit rallied on the outside to win by the narrowest of margins.

"We had a beautiful trip," Lewis said. "It looked like the pacemaker was backing up, but she was able to get out and make a run."

Barely Daylight finished third in the field of 11 fillies and mares.

Nicole's Pursuit races for Flying A Farms. The 3-year-old filly has won 4 of 12 starts and $223,880. Earlier this year, she was second in the Fleet Treat Stakes at Del Mar.

The Distance Handicap for fillies and mares was run for the first time on Saturday's California Cup program, taking the place of a starter handicap for female claimers.

Juvenile: Crackup stalks, pounces

An inside draw is usually advantageous going two turns, but when Crackup landed post 2 for the $125,000 California Cup Juvenile, trainer Rafael Becerra implored jockey Tyler Baze to get to the outside as quickly as possible.

The 1 1/16-mile race could not have unfolded any better for Crackup. Bold N Broke crossed over from post 7 and cleared Crackup, but no one else went, allowing Baze to get Crackup off the rail midway around the first turn. He sat in a stalking position for much of the race, turned back a bid from favored Excessive Barb on the far turn, and drew away for a two-length victory.

Excessive Barb finished second, three lengths in front of third-place Hair Jordan.

Crackup ($6) covered 1 1/16 miles on the fast main track in 1:43.82 for his second victory in four starts. A 2-year-old Distorted Humor colt, he was a $50,000 auction purchase earlier this year by owner Stan Fulton. The victory added $75,000 to his bankroll.

Crackup stalked Bold N Broke through fractions of 22.86 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 46.52 for a half. Crackup had the lead after six furlongs in 1:11.54, when Excessive Barb loomed ominously on his flank.

The result atoned for a defeat Crackup suffered when he was favored against Excessive Barb in the Cavonnier Stakes four weeks earlier.

Becerra said Crackup had a small quarter crack in his left front hoof that was patched the day before the race by farrier Buzz Fermin.

Starters: 'Kinsman', Giovanetti win

In the $50,000 Starter Handicap, Noble Kinsman ($13) rallied in the final half-mile to beat favored Fade to Blue. Noble Kinsman ran 1 1/2 miles on turf in 2:28.69.

In the $50,000 Starter Sprint Handicap, Giovanetti ($19.40) led throughout, finishing six furlongs in 1:08.85. Stoney, the 1-2 favorite, was eased on the backstretch and vanned off.

- additional reporting by Jay Privman