08/30/2006 11:00PM

Shining Energy in Palomar off proper rest

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DEL MAR, Calif. - A month would seem like enough time between starts for most top-class fillies and mares.

seems to be an exception. A 4-year-old filly, Shining Energy had nearly five weeks between a win in the Grade 1 Gamely Breeders' Cup Stakes in late May and a sixth-place finish in the Grade 3 CashCall Mile on July 1.

The loss in the CashCall Mile left trainer Julio Canani angry. "She likes her races spread out," he said.

Canani has vowed not to make the same mistake again this summer. On Saturday at Del Mar, Shining Energy starts as the 120-pound topweight in the $200,000 Palomar Breeders' Cup Handicap over 1 1/16 miles on turf.

The Grade 2 Palomar is Shining Energy's first start in nine weeks. Although the timing might be better, the Palomar will not be an easy race. It has drawn 12 runners, 11 of whom are stakes winners. The race has a safety limit of 10 runners. Bond Deal and Lock and Key are on the also-eligible list.

The Palomar has one supplemental entry - Sharp Lisa, who was seventh in the Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington Park on Aug. 12.

Despite a field loaded with contenders, Canani has confidence in Shining Energy. If she repeats her win in the Gamely, when she rallied from seventh in the final three furlongs to win by 1 3/4 lengths, Canani feels she can win.

That is if she can beat Canani's other filly - Island Fashion - as well as Amorama, Mea Domina, Polyfirst, and Three Degrees.

Island Fashion, a winner of 6 of 29 starts and $2,013,970, is winless in two starts this year, but was a game third in the Grade 1 John Mabee Handicap here on July 22. After racing near the front, she was beaten a neck by Dancing Edie.

Canani believes Island Fashion will improve from that performance, her first start since finishing seventh against males in the $1 million Godolphin Mile in Dubai in March.

"She was short because she'd only had four works," he said. "She's eating like a man. She never leaves an oat. Before, she never used to eat."

Island Fashion could challenge for the early lead with Berbatim, who is making her first start since winning an allowance race at Santa Anita in March. She was fourth in the 2005 Del Mar Oaks.

A quick pace helps Shining Energy, Amorama, Polyfirst, and Three Degrees.

Amorama is seeking her first stakes win of 2006. Trained by Bobby Frankel, she won the Grade 1 Mabee in 2005, but has lost her last seven starts, including a second in the 2005 Palomar.

Polyfirst won her first stakes in the restricted Osunitas Handicap here on Aug. 9. A 13-1 outsider in that race, she rallied from fifth to win by 2 1/2 lengths.

Three Degrees is winless in five starts since the Grade 2 Honeymoon Breeders' Cup Handicap at Hollywood Park in June 2005. Second in the Del Mar Oaks here in August 2005, Three Degrees returned from a seven-month layoff to run a game second behind Polyfirst in the Osunitas.

"I think having that race under her belt will help her," trainer Paddy Gallagher said. "She'll need to run better."