06/26/2008 12:00AM

Tanika shortens up for rematch


EDMONTON, Alberta - Saturday's $50,000 Wild Rose at Northlands rekindles a budding rivalry between Tanika, champion of her division in Alberta last year at 3, and She's Italian, tops in her division last year as a 4-year-old.

The two multiple stakes winners stand out in the 6 1/2-furlong Wild Rose, and drew the outside posts in the field of seven, with Tanika coupled in the wagering with stablemate Beau Spirit.

The first and only meeting this year between Tanika and She's Italian resulted in a terrific stretch battle, with Tanika coming out a neck victor in the one-mile Ken Pearson Memorial on May 19.

Their rematch in the Duchess of York, a race Tanika won handily, was canceled when trainer Doug MacDonald scratched She's Italian rather than run over a drying-out surface rated as good.

Tanika, coming off a pair of route tallies, is shortening up in distance here and carries high weight of 123 pounds.

But Tanika proved last year in the 6 1/2-furlong Chariot Chaser that she can sprint, and she will undoubtedly be favored to keep her winning streak alive with a stalking trip under Stephan Heiler.

She's Italian is 3 for 4 at the distance and has tactical speed, which rider Jake Barton will need to use to overcome the outside post.

R Lucinda has shed her bridesmaid image with three sprint tallies this year, including a front-running win in the Sales Stakes. She is expected to contest the early pace with Sassy Sarah and Beau Spirit.