01/06/2011 1:36PM

Spirit Seeker rounding into form for Kachina


PHOENIX – Spirit Seeker had everything going her way in the summer and fall of 2009, winning three of four starts on Calder dirt, including a win that registered a 103 Beyer Speed Figure. She went to Southern California and was a strong second in Hollywood Park’s Starine in December of 2009 and seemed on her way. Alas, 2010 was, for the most part, a lost year.

But the 5-year-old Spirit Seeker recently showed signs she’s back to her 2009 form and that makes her the one to beat in Saturday’s $25,000 Kachina Handicap at Turf Paradise. The mile main-track event for fillies and mares drew a field of eight.

Owned and trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Spirit Seeker won 5 of 16 in 2009, with six second-place finishes. But last year she was no factor in her first five starts, which included graded stakes at Santa Anita and Oaklawn. After a dull allowance run at Golden Gate April 21, when she faded to finish last of five, Hollendorfer put her away for eight months.

Spirit Seeker returned in a dirt stakes route at Portland Meadows Dec. 15 and won in a romp by 8 1/2 lengths. That run was flattered as the filly she beat back into second, Perfect Finish, came right back to win. That win may be a sign Spirit Seeker is back on track. Javier Matias, who was aboard for that big Portland score, keeps the mount.

Table Mesa, owned by Dennis Weir and trained by Sandi Gann, looms the one to beat. She’s finished in the top three in 11 straight outings, including a sprint stakes win on this track last April 24. She rallied to finish second in the Phoenix here Dec. 11 at six furlongs. A bullet five-furlong work in 58.40 here Dec. 28 shows she’s doing well. Scott Stevens rides.

Catch Lorraine ran third just behind Table Mesa in the Phoenix and has nine top-three finishes in her last 10 starts. Catana Perez led all the way to win a turf race at about this distance Nov. 6 and must be respected with her speed. Likely a Star won a pair of races routing on turf here last winter and may be set to get back to top form after running fifth in the Phoenix behind Table Mesa and Catch Lorrain. Cell Line Forever is stakes placed routing on turf and is proven on this main track having won here last March.