10/03/2005 12:00AM

'Storm' stands out in a crowd


ARCADIA, Calif. - Gathering Storm seemed ideally placed to win a turf sprint at Del Mar on Aug. 22. But in a roughly run race, she had trouble in early stretch and emerged with a cut on her leg that required medical attention.

Wednesday, all that can be forgotten if Gathering Storm can win a $42,000 allowance race for fillies and mares over about 6 1/2 furlongs at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting.

will be favored in a race that has drawn an oversubscribed field of 14. The race will have a safety limit of 12 runners.

Trained by Jenine Sahadi for a partnership that includes the Team Valor syndicate, Gathering Storm is making her third start in the United States. In 2003, she was a stakes winner in South Africa. She won her lone start in 2004 in South Africa before being sent to the United States.

Gathering Storm has run well in both of her U.S. starts. She was third after a slow start in the restricted Curious Clover Stakes at Hollywood Park on July 8. At Del Mar, she had trouble in early stretch and was beaten three-quarters of a length after an unlucky trip.

"I thought she was in a good spot at Del Mar," Sahadi said. "I thought that the turns were a little tight. She had a gash and I had to put four or five staples before the knee and two in her ankle."

Gathering Storm, 6, will be ridden for the first time by Alex Solis. She was near the front at Del Mar, and may get an ideal trip on Wednesday.

"I think she will like coming down the hill," Sahadi said.

Trainer Neil Drysdale has two top candidates in the race - Etamine and Haka Girl.

returned from a layoff of more than eight months to finish second by a neck in a turf sprint at Del Mar on Aug. 25. In that race over five furlongs, Etamine rallied from seven lengths off the pace to miss catching Do Da Princess by a neck.

has been second in her last two starts. She was beaten a head in the restricted Impressive Style Stakes for turf sprinters at Hollywood Park on July 1. In her lone start at Del Mar, Haka Girl took the lead in an optional claimer over a mile on turf, but was caught in the final furlong by Homecoming, losing by a length.