02/08/2009 1:00AM

Softer group for stakes pair


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - The last time Julia Tuttle and Annabill ran, it was against Florida-breds and California-breds on Sunshine Millions Day. They return against Florida-breds Sunday at Gulfstream Park, but the competition will be decidedly easier in the $75,000 Marion County Stakes at a mile on the grass.

Julia Tuttle, ridden by Edgar Prado, finished fourth behind the odds-on Wild Promises after forcing the pace in the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf. A 4-year-old daughter of Giant's Causeway, Julia Tuttle was a stakes winner at 3 and third after opening a long lead in the Grade 3 Virginia Oaks.

"There are no Wild Promises in this race but the purse isn't a half-million dollars, either," said Ferris Allen, who trains the homebred Julia Tuttle for owner Marion Montanari. "I was very pleased with her race in the Sunshine Millions and especially with the rapport Edgar had with her. She went through a period when she would just burst to the lead, and we didn't try to alter it because she was having success at the time. We took her to Tampa last month to try to teach her to rate, and I thought she was very relaxed and comfortable with Edgar even though she was with the lead in the Sunshine Millions."

Annabill journeyed to Santa Anita, where she finished fifth of 12 over the Pro-Ride surface in the Sunshine Millions Distaff. The 6-year-old Annabill has won 17 of 40 starts, the majority of her success coming on dirt.

"There aren't many opportunities to run two turns on dirt around here, so we'll try her back on the grass," said Annabill's owner-trainer, Milt Wolfson.

Wolfson added that he thought Annabill ran well in the Sunshine Millions considering the rider had her farther back than usual and that the track didn't seem to suit her.

Scolara was held out of the Sunshine Millions to make her 4-year-old debut on Sunday for trainer Bill Mott. She closed out her 3-year-old campaign by finishing third in the Grade 2 Mrs. Revere at Churchill Downs and second, beaten a head, in the Pago Hop Stakes at Fair Grounds.

You Asked also comes off a near-miss against stakes company in her 2008 finale when second over the main track in Philadelphia Park's Sleigh Ride Stakes.