01/08/2010 12:00AM

St Trinians steps up for stakes debut

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ARCADIA, Calif. - After overwhelming rivals in two allowance races at Santa Anita and Hollywood Park last year, St Trinians has earned a stakes debut in Saturday's $65,000 Paseana Handicap at Santa Anita.

Trainer Mike Mitchell just wishes the race was worth more money and had more prestige.

"They should have made it $100,000 and put a Grade 3 next to it," Mitchell said.

The Paseana, run over 1 1/16 miles, drew stakes winners Briecat, Made for Magic, My Baby Baby, and You Lift Me Up as well as Silver Swallow, who was second in the Grade 2 Bayakoa Handicap at Hollywood Park last month.

St Trinians has won five of her nine starts, which have come in England and the United States. After winning two of her final three starts in England in late 2008, St Trinians made her U.S. debut with a four-length win in an optional claimer here over a mile last March. After missing the summer and fall because of concern over an ankle, she won her comeback by seven lengths in an allowance race over 7 1/2 furlongs at Hollywood Park on Dec. 3.

"We got a race under her belt," Mitchell said. "I was surprised that she won like she did, drawing off going 7 1/2. I wanted to keep her on the synthetic. I said, 'I have to run the filly.'

"The pattern of her coming up to the race is perfect."

St Trinians can race near the front, but Mitchell said he wants her farther off the pace on a racetrack that has played favorably to closers in recent days.

"It doesn't seem like you want the lead at all," Mitchell said.

St Trinians will be tested in the Paseana, which drew nine fillies and mares. Silver Swallow carries high weight of 120 pounds in search of her first stakes win. Trained by Bruce Headley, Silver Swallow was a fast-closing second to Zardana in the Bayakoa, a performance that should lead to her going favored in the Paseana.

Floating Heart, fourth in the Bayakoa, is a threat from off the pace. She has won three of her last five, beginning with a maiden race win at Ellis Park last July.

"It's not very often you see a horse that broke its maiden at Ellis be competitive in California," said Michael McCarthy, assistant trainer for Todd Pletcher. "Hopefully, we can build on that situation."