01/15/2007 12:00AM

Sugar Shake game in El Encino


ARCADIA, Calif. - Sugar Shake’s hard-fought win in the $150,000 El Encino Stakes at Santa Anita on Sunday may be a precursor of the filly’s 2007 campaign. Trainer Bobby Frankel left the winner’s circle wondering if she was ready to run in the Grade 2 race, and thinking there was room for improvement.

“I don’t know if she was 100 percent fit,” Frankel said.

Sugar Shake certainly ran like a fit filly. Ridden by David Flores for Stronach Stable, Sugar Shake led throughout the El Encino, winning by a length over a stubborn Kris’ Sis. Wonder Lady Anne L, the winner of the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks at Belmont Park last summer, finished third in the field of six 4-year-old fillies.

Cantabria, the even-money favorite, finished fifth, never threatening Sugar Shake.

The El Encino was Sugar Shake’s first stakes win. She finished 1 1-16 miles in 1:43.70. After leading by a half-length to early stretch, she was headed by Kris’ Sis before pulling away late.

“She ran the way she works in the morning,” Flores said. “She never lets a horse get by her.”

Sugar Shake, who has won 4 of 10 starts and $208,256, may make her next start in the Grade 2 La Canada Stakes on Feb. 11, Frankel said.