03/09/2010 1:00AM

Speed in Free Flying Soul's favor

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Benoit & Associates
Free Flying Soul won the Kalookan Queen (above) on Jan. 3 before finishing third in the Santa Monica.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Free Flying Soul is the lone speed in race 4 Wednesday at Santa Anita, a sprint for fillies and mares that serves as a prep race for the Grade 3 Las Flores Handicap on April 4.

The field for Wednesday's six-furlong race includes 2009 Las Flores winner Sweet August Moon, Midwest shipper Nadeshiko, and stakes winner Quisisana. Mona de Momma and Hallelujah Trail also entered the third-level allowance, also open to nonwinners of a graded stakes since Sept. 1.

Free Flying Soul finished third Jan. 31 in the seven-furlong, Grade 1 Santa Monica Handicap, despite a training schedule interrupted by weather.

"You can't train like normal in the rain," trainer Bruce Headley said.

Since then, Headley said, Free Flying Soul "has been on a real steady pattern, she had a nice 1:12" on March 4. Mike Smith rides Free Flying Soul, a 5-for-11 5-year-old mare who figures to control the pace over a synthetic surface that recently has been kind to speed. Six of the last 12 sprints at six furlongs were won gate to wire.

Sweet August Moon had been off almost 10 months when she returned in the Santa Monica. She finished last. Was it overambitious?

"Probably," trainer Brian Koriner admitted. "You get excited to get a horse like her back."

Koriner said Sweet August Moon, 5, was sidelined with a hind-end injury that required time. Since her comeback, the 5-for-12 Sweet August Moon has trained well.

"She's good," Koriner said. "Hopefully we can go back up the ladder."

Nadeshiko, 5 for 19 in the Midwest, makes her first start in California and first for trainer John Sadler.

"They sent her out here for the synthetic, or she could run down the hill," he said, referring to the Grade 3 Las Cienegas on April 11. "My job is to win a graded race with her."

While the Wednesday allowance is merely a comeback for Nadeshiko, Sadler's other starter has the benefit of a recent comeback. Mona de Momma finished fourth by two lengths in a turf sprint, despite losing her footing crossing the dirt.

"You could see her slip around," Sadler said, adding that Mona de Momma is "doing real good." Mona de Momma has won 3 of 8.

Quisisana won the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Sprint on Jan. 30; Hallelujah Trail last raced Dec. 28.