01/27/2005 12:00AM

Sise insists Coastal Strike is ready for best


Coastal Strike left Del Mar last summer as a stakes winner with a growing reputation in the California-bred filly division.

While sore shins have kept her from racing since September, she has trained impressively in recent weeks for a comeback in Saturday's $250,000 Oaks at Santa Anita.

Unfortunately for owner Larry Williams and trainer Clifford Sise, the Sunshine Millions Oaks for California-breds and Florida-breds over six furlongs is a fiercely competitive race. The field of 12 includes six stakes winners and three stakes-placed fillies. A victory would certainly confirm Coastal Strike's status as a promising 3-year-old filly.

Sise said he is not concerned about the layoff. Coastal Strike has not started since winning the Generous Portion Stakes at Del Mar on Sept. 1. She has had three six-furlong workouts over the last three Saturdays, all with jockey Gary Stevens aboard.

"She's totally on schedule," Sise said. "Gary has worked her all three times and he loves the filly.

"When you look at it, this was the place to shoot for," he said. "She's trained very well. She worked great in the mud, and her last race was totally awesome. She has a lot of class to her."

Sise said he was pleased that Coastal Strike drew post 9, which will enable Stevens to place her near the pace without committing to the front.

Several fillies are capable of ensuring a quick pace. Brooke's Halo, Hello Lucky, Kohar, She's a Jewel, and Yodeladytoo have shown speed.

Florida-bred Brooke's Halo won her debut by six lengths at Calder in November. She has since been transferred to trainer Jeff Mullins at Santa Anita. Florida-bred Hello Lucky led throughout the Anoakia Stakes over this distance and track last October. The stakes-placed She's a Jewel, also bred in Florida, is fast, but trainer Vladimir Cerin said she could race from off the pace.

A stalker who could be a factor is Short Route, a California-bred who won the Cover Gal Stakes here in September.

Two of the invaders, both Florida-breds, look strong: Hot Storm, who was stakes placed at Fair Grounds in her last start, and Running Bobcats, a closer who was a stakes winner at Calder in October.

If the pace is too quick, the race could suit Memorette, the winner of the California Breeders' Champion Stakes over seven furlongs Dec. 27. Trainer Bill Currin said he was discouraged by Memorette's inside draw and is worried the race is too short. Still, he expects Memorette to be a factor.

"She likes to relax and come a-flying," he said. "I think we can do that, anyway."

The field

Sunshine Million Oaks
Purse: $250,000; 6 furlongs

1Memorette (CA)K. Desormeaux7-2
2Kash Klip (FL)O. Figueroa30-1
3Eleventh Street (FL)T. Baze20-1
4Yodeladytoo (CA)M. Smith15-1
5Kohar (CA)F. Martinez15-1
6She's a Jewel (FL)R. Douglas8-1
7Brooke's Halo (FL)V. Espinoza4-1
8Hello Lucky (FL)A. Bisono8-1
9Short Route (CA)C. DeAlba6-1
10Coastal Strike (CA)G. Stevens9-2
11Running Bobcats (FL)J. Garcia15-1
12Hot Storm (FL)J. Bailey12-1

* All starters carry 120 pounds
* Odds by Michael Hammersly
* Television: Saturday, 4-6 p.m. Eastern, NBC