03/17/2009 12:00AM

Sugar Mint delays her U.S. stakes debut

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ARCADIA, Calif. - Sugar Mint's California stakes debut has been briefly postponed.

Instead of running in Sunday's $150,000 Santa Ana Handicap, Sugar Mint will start in an optional claimer at a mile on turf Thursday at Santa Anita.

"It's not that I don't think she could win the Santa Ana," said Dan Ward, assistant to trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. "The Wilshire at Hollywood Park is on May 2, if it all goes well."

Sugar Mint has stakes credentials. Owned by William Deburgh, Sugar Mint has won 2 of 11 starts and was stakes-placed in England last year.

Thursday's race will be her third start in the United States. She won her debut in an allowance race on the hillside turf course on Jan. 8 with minimal effort. In a second-level allowance race at a mile here Jan. 30, she finished third, beaten a head.

"I think because she had one sprint since [last summer], and others had been running a mile and an eighth, that she got a little tired," Ward said of the Jan. 30 race. "She might have needed the mile race."

Rafael Bejarano, who was aboard for Sugar Mint's first two races, retains the mount Thursday. Sugar Mint breaks from post 2 in a field of 8.

General Consensus may pose a threat to Sugar Mint. Trained by Paddy Gallagher, she has won her last two starts, races separated by more than nine months. A 4-year-old filly by Giant's Causeway, General Consensus beat maidens in a one-mile turf race last April. She returned in a first-condition allowance race at a mile on turf Feb.o12, racing near the front early before taking over on the final turn.

None of the other entrants won their last starts. Heathersdaddysbaby, who drew the rail, is making her fifth start of the year. Trained by Ruben Cardenas, Heathersdaddysbaby has won two $50,000 claimers this year - a mile race on Jan. 2 and a race at about 6o1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course Feb. 5.

Heathersdaddysbaby was claimed by Cardenas in the Jan. 5 race. The 6-year-old mare returned to finish fourth as the 5-2 favorite in an optional claimer on the hillside turf course March 8.

Divine Legacy is seeking her second win of the meeting. Trained by Bill Currin, Divine Legacy won a first-condition allowance race on the main track Jan. 15.