03/05/2009 12:00AM

Starry Pursuit can race on or off the pace


ARCADIA, Calif. - Neither a start from the rail nor the presence of several speedy rivals will prevent Starry Pursuit from adding to her already remarkable record in Saturday's $100,000 Honest Lady Stakes at Santa Anita.

That's the viewpoint of Dan Ward, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer's assistant, who has overseen the training of Starry Pursuit as she resumes her career on Saturday after an eight-month break.

"She's got two wins from the rail," Ward said. "She's got tactical speed and there is some speed to run at."

Starry Pursuit has won 5 of 6 starts, ranging from a 4 1/2-furlong maiden race on Arlington Park's Polytrack synthetic surface in her debut at 2 in June 2007 to the one-mile Flawlessly Stakes on turf for 3-year-old fillies at Hollywood Park last summer.

Starry Pursuit is unbeaten in four sprints, either leading or disputing the pace in each race. Her ability to win with either style gives Ward confidence that Starry Pursuit can be effective in the six-furlong Honest Lady.

"She runs well fresh," he said.

If Starry Pursuit is sent to the front, she will have plenty of rivals. Synnin and Grinnin, the winner of five consecutive races last spring and summer, has speed, as does Moonshine Alice, a stakes winner at Tampa Bay Downs last year.

Synnin and Grinnin, trained by Howard Zucker, was fifth in her only start this year, an allowance race on Feb. 1. The first three finishers of that race - Foxy Danseur, Moonshine Alice, and Coco Belle - are part of the Honest Lady field.

Moonshine Alice has been second in three starts since joining trainer Bobby Frankel's stable last fall. She led by three lengths early in the Feb. 1 allowance race, but was beaten a half-length.

Coco Belle and Foxy Danseur have opposite styles. Coco Belle will be near the front. She is winless in four stakes since the CERF Handicap at Del Mar last August. For the Honest Lady, trainer John Sadler was pleased that Coco Belle drew post 8 in a field of nine fillies and mares.

"There's not a lot of races for her," Sadler said. "She only wants to run six. This is a good spot."

Foxy Danseur, the winner of the seven-furlong Cascapedia Stakes last fall, is a threat from off the pace. Trained by Christopher Paasch, Foxy Danseur will be attempting to win her third stakes.