02/07/2008 12:00AM

Stars aligned for Tasha's Miracle


ARCADIA, Calif. - Tasha's Miracle had more excuses than victories last fall. In two major stakes, wide trips kept her from finishing in the top three.

When Tasha's Miracle makes her 3-year-old debut in Saturday's $250,000 Las Virgenes Stakes at Santa Anita, a Grade 1 race over a mile, she has a few things in her favor.

Trained by John Sadler for Budget Stable and the Team Valor partnership, Tasha's Miracle does not have to face two Grade 1 stakes winners based on this circuit who bypassed this race to run elsewhere. Indian Blessing, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2007, runs Saturday in the Silverbulletday at Fair Grounds. Country Star, winner of the Alcibiades Stakes and Hollywood Starlet last fall, won't run until later this year.

"It doesn't hurt that Country Star is skipping this one," Sadler said.

Plus, Tasha's Miracle should get a good trip, stalking expected pacesetters Lovely Isle and Czechers.

The Las Virgenes is one of three graded stakes on Saturday's program, which includes the San Antonio Handicap for older males and the Santa Maria Handicap for fillies and mares. Saturday's program will be the first day of racing at Santa Anita since last Saturday. There is a pick-six carryover of $181,514 left over from last weekend.

Tasha's Miracle is the most accomplished filly in the Las Virgenes, having won the Grade 3 Sorrento Stakes at Del Mar last August. She has earned $233,800, the most of the seven fillies in the field.

But she is coming off losses in two stakes at 1 1/16 miles. In the Oak Leaf here in September, she was beaten 2 3/4 lengths after a wide trip.

"She lost more ground than she got beat," Sadler said.

On a sloppy track in the BC Juvenile Fillies at Monmouth Park, she finished eight lengths behind Indian Blessing after being steadied early and racing wide.

"She ran on well," Sadler said. "It was such rugged conditions."

The Las Virgenes will be the first time that jockey Martin Garcia has ridden Tasha's Miracle. David Flores, who has ridden Tasha's Miracle four times, rides Lovely Isle, who is running for trainer Bobby Frankel for the first time. Lovely Isle was seventh as the 6-5 favorite in the Grade 2 Old Hat Stakes at Gulfstream Park last month.

The field also includes Grace Anatomy, who was third in the Alcibiades Stakes, and Golden Doc A, winner of two sprint stakes. Golden Doc A finished a head behind Indian Blessing in the Grade 2 Santa Ynez Stakes here on Jan. 13.