03/28/2005 12:00AM

'Sugar' just needs clean start

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ARCADIA, Calif. - The end of the race - Give Me Sugar has that part down. It's the start that still needs some work.

In both her races, Give Me Sugar has broken slowly. In her debut, it did not matter, because she got up in time to win. Last time, though, it cost her. She could not overcome her rail draw or the slow start, though she closed from last to finish third.

Her prospects appear bright in Wednesday's featured seventh race at Santa Anita, a first-level allowance sprint for older fillies and mares going six furlongs. Give Me Sugar, who drew post 6 in the field of nine, has come back to work well since her last race on March 6 and benefits by having Gary Stevens back aboard.

"One thing about Gary Stevens - he brings back some great information," said Bruce Headley, the trainer of Give Me Sugar.

According to Headley, Stevens said that Give Me Sugar broke slowly last time because of a confluence of events. She was loaded first, so she had to await eight others. Then, just as the last horse was being loaded, Give Me Sugar heard a loud sound emanate from the far end of the gate, and she lurched forward.

Just as she was backing up, "they sprung the gate," Headley said.

"She was backing up when the gate opened," he said. "And having the 1 post didn't help, either."

Headley said he thinks Give Me Sugar "has a chance to be a stakes filly." If so, she should roar through this allowance condition.

Her main rivals appear to be Cherry Bombshell, who defeated maidens in her last start after finishing fourth to Give Me Sugar in a maiden event on Jan. 27, and Capitola, who was second in a similar allowance race last time and has won 4 of 11 starts.

Also of interest on Wednesday's card is the fifth race, a first-level allowance sprint for California-bred fillies and mares.

Buffy My Love, who has not raced since June, has turned in a sharp series of works for her return for trainer John Sadler.

"She needed arthroscopic surgery on her left front ankle," Sadler said. "She's got a lot of works. She's ready to go."

Buffy My Love drew the outside post in a field of eight going 6 1/2 furlongs.

"I love the draw," Sadler said. "She's a speed-type filly, but she doesn't have to go to the lead. It's better to be out there than on the rail first time back."