04/03/2007 12:00AM

Smokin Danielle has shown real grit


ARCADIA, Calif. - Smokin Danielle used brilliant speed Jan. 13 to score a romping five-length win in her debut at Golden Gate Fields. But in her second start there Feb. 9, the Greg Gilchrist-trained filly never had a chance.

It was a five-horse field on a sloppy track, and trainer Jerry Hollendorfer started a two-horse entry: Forest Huntress was the sacrificial rabbit, Mattie Camp the beneficiary. Gilchrist could have predicted the scenario. Smokin Danielle broke running, but Forest Huntress immediately hooked her from the outside.

"I would have done the same thing," Gilchrist said. "Jerry sent one as hard as he could every step of the way, we got rid of that one, and then his other one came."

Smokin Danielle won the battle, but lost the war. The other half of the entry, Mattie Camp, rated behind the duel and won from behind. Smokin Danielle finished second.

Gilchrist was disappointed Smokin Danielle lost, but pleased to learn his filly had more than one dimension. The running line does not tell the whole story. Smokin Danielle went head and head inside, sucked back from the jam, and then re-rallied on the outside.

"It was a lot better race than it appeared," Gilchrist said. "It was a very professional race for a horse's second start."

Thursday at Santa Anita, Smokin Danielle will run for the first time in Southern California, and if she performs as expected she can upset local runners Tiz Elemental, Swiss Blend, Ces't Mark, Ellen K., and Sego Lilly in the race-7 feature.

The $53,000 six-furlong sprint is a first-level allowance for California-bred 3-year-old fillies. And this time, Gilchrist knows that if there is a suicidal front-runner lurking in the field, jockey Aaron Gryder can take back and come around.

Smokin Danielle's effort last out was flattered when Forest Huntress, the filly she put away, returned to finish second, and then win an allowance. Meanwhile, Smokin Danielle is making her second trip to Santa Anita. She shipped earlier in the meet for a race that did not fill.

Tiz Elemental is backing up from a turf route. Based on her runner-up finish in the Sunshine Millions Oaks one back, Tiz Elemental could start favored. She was beaten a nose in the Sunshine Millions Oaks, and her effort was flattered when winner Mistical Plan returned to win the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks.

Swiss Blend, who finished second in a similar Cal-bred race Feb. 19, is making her third career start. Rollerskates will fly late, while Ellen K. and Sego Lily both have speed.