10/11/2002 11:00PM

Split Ramser aids Super High

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ARCADIA, Calif. - The hope that Super High can win a fourth stakes this year was greatly enhanced when Monday's Harold Ramser Handicap at Santa Anita was divided into two divisions.

If a large field had been grouped into one stakes, Super High's front-running style may have been compromised by several speedy rivals. Instead, she will be favored to win the $75,000 first division of the one-mile turf stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

In the second division, a more open race, several fillies are capable of winning.

The Ramser is the first stakes run in divisions at the Oak Tree meeting since the 1987 Rowan Handicap, which no longer exists.

Super High is the 120-pound highweight in the first division, which drew eight fillies. Trained by Carla Gaines, Super High won the California Sires Stakes and Flawlessly Stakes at Hollywood Park and the Solana Beach Handicap at Del Mar.

Her competition Monday includes Kithira, a French stakes winner who was ninth in the Garden City Breeders' Cup Handicap at Belmont Park; Pina Colada, who was second in the San Clemente Handicap at Del Mar; and Atarama, an allowance race winner at Del Mar on Aug. 26.

Atarama was stakes placed in England last spring and was making her first start for trainer Kristin Mulhall at Del Mar. Mulhall sees improvement in Atarama in recent weeks.

"She's gotten a lot more aggressive," Mulhall said. "I think winning helped and she's gotten used to the U.S. system. She had no idea what to do when she went to the track before her last race."

Mulhall, Ian Jory, and Jenine Sahadi have fillies in both divisions of the Ramser. Jory's best chance is arguably Crousille, who was stakes-placed in France earlier this year but finished a disappointing seventh in the Flawlessly Stakes. She starts in the first division.

In the $75,000 second division, Sahadi starts Dancing, an upset winner of the Grade 2 Santa Ynez Stakes in January. Dancing was off from March until September, but ran a respectable second to AB Noodle in the Carmel Handicap at Bay Meadows.

Along with Ristra, the winner of the restricted Sandy Blue Stakes at Del Mar on Aug. 4, Dancing carries highweight of 116 pounds in the second division.

The race has a heavy European influence with four of the nine fillies having started their careers overseas. Another contender is Nobilissime, who was third in the Finlandia Cup in her U.S. debut on Aug. 25 for trainer Kathy Walsh.