05/28/2006 11:00PM

Squallacious takes small step forward

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Squallacious showed the talent of a veteran when she won her career debut at Hollywood Park on April 29. She overcame traffic on the turn of a six-furlong maiden race to win by 1 3/4 lengths.

Wednesday, the 3-year-old makes her first start against winners in a $49,000 allowance race for fillies and mares. She may need to show the same poise as she did in the maiden race to beat a more experienced field.

Trained by Mike Puype for Rick Trontz, Squallacious was favored in her debut and is likely to be favored in Wednesday's race at seven furlongs. The come-from-behind style of the maiden race left Puype impressed, but he was already sold on her ability. Puype had watched her work well through April and expected a top performance.

"She accelerated with ease and did it as well as can be expected," Puype said of the maiden win. "She's gained weight since she ran."

Wednesday's first-condition allowance race is a logical step for Squallacious. Puype said there was no temptation to try a route race with a filly just starting her career.

"I think one step at a time is the way to do it," Puype said. "Seven-eighths is a perfect distance to see what she can do. What if she's more sprinter than router? She is just a 3-year-old with one race."

Squallacious did not show speed in her debut, but Puype would not be surprised if she is closer to the front on Wednesday. He is comfortable knowing that she has experience racing behind rivals.

"I thought she'd show more speed than she did," he said of her first race. "She hadn't been seasoned to take so much dirt."

Squallacious, who is by Summer Squall, has drawn post 2 in a field of six. The competition includes the 3-year-old fillies , who was second in the Moccasin Stakes last November, and Fletchers Cove, who won a $62,500 claimer at Santa Anita on April 20.

There are three older fillies and mares in the field - Catch a Star, Ever So Nice, and Glamour Cat.

is making her first start in a sprint in this country. She was winless in three starts earlier this year at a mile to 1 1/8 miles, including a decent third in an allowance race here on May 15.

Glamour Cat may lead. She won four consecutive races last year, but has only one victory in eight subsequent starts.