10/03/2007 11:00PM

Tasha's Miracle presses on to Breeders' Cup

EmailARCADIA, Calif. - Tasha's Miracle is bound for the $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies despite finishing fifth in the Grade 1 Oak Leaf Stakes at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting on Sept. 29.

Tasha's Miracle made her first start in seven weeks in the Oak Leaf. Breaking from post 9 in a field of 10, she was five wide on the first turn and three wide on the second turn, fading in the final furlong to finish 2 3/4 lengths behind the winner, Cry and Catch Me.

"She was so wide I think it took something out of her," said Barry Irwin, the managing partner of the Team Valor syndicate, which co-owns the filly with Gary Barber.

"I think she was on fumes from the quarter pole to the wire," Irwin said. "I think she'll get a lot out of that race."

Trained by John Sadler, Tasha's Miracle has won 2 of 4 starts and $131,800. She won the Grade 3 Sorrento Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs at Del Mar on Aug. 8 in her stakes debut.

"I think circumstances conspired against her," Sadler said of the Oak Leaf. "She's a go" for the Breeders' Cup.

The BC Juvenile Fillies will be run Oct. 27 at Monmouth Park.

Sadler sends two off layoffs

Sadler has two hopefuls for the major stakes on Sunday - She's an Eleven in the $250,000 Lady's Secret Stakes and Get Funky in the $250,000 Oak Tree Mile. Both are coming off layoffs, raising questions over whether they are ready to defeat opponents who have been racing.

Get Funky makes his first start since finishing second in the Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park in May. The layoff was caused by a splint bone injury, Sadler said.

"We didn't turn him out," Sadler said. "We kept him in light training until he picked up."

The Breeders' Cup Mile is a possibility, but Sadler admits that Get Funky "would have to win."

The Oak Tree Mile has drawn a field of six, led by Lava Man, the top handicap horse in California, and Surf Cat, who has been second in two sprints this year. They are using the race as a prep for the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile at Monmouth on Oct. 26.

She's an Eleven was retired last winter to be bred in Kentucky but refused to cooperate with the stallion, Empire Maker, Sadler said earlier this summer. The 4-year-old filly, a winner of 2 of 8 starts and $216,954, returned to training during the summer, but does not have Breeders' Cup aspirations, Sadler said.

"We're looking for a good race, and she can run back in the California Cup," Sadler said.

The Lady's Secret Stakes drew six and is led by Hystericalady, the winner of the Grade 2 Molly Pitcher Breeders' Cup Handicap by 6 1/2 lengths at Monmouth Park on Aug. 25. Bai and Bai will try for her third consecutive stakes win, while Tough Tiz's Sis returns following a third in the Grade 1 Beldame Stakes at Belmont Park on Sept. 15.

The $300,000 Ancient Title Stakes at six furlongs drew five entrants. Defending champion Bordonaro and Greg's Gold, the winner of the Pat O'Brien Handicap at Del Mar, will dominate the betting.

Southwest headed for turf stakes

Southwest, the sharp winner of a maiden race for 2-year-olds on turf on Wednesday, will return in a one-mile turf stakes - the $60,000 Pinjara Stakes on Oct. 26 or the $100,000 Generous Stakes at Hollywood Park on Nov. 23.

In an effort to keep Southwest fresh for a 3-year-old campaign next year, trainer Gary Mandella said that he would not run him in both races.

"I'm not looking to over-race him this year," Mandella said.

Ridden by David Flores, Southwest ($11.60) rallied from sixth in the final half-mile to win the sixth race on Wednesday by 2 1/4 lengths, finishing in 1:35.97.

Owned by Lazy Lane Farms, Southwest made his second start on Wednesday, having finished second in a maiden race at 6 1/2 furlongs at Del Mar on Sept. 1.

Champagne Miss has colic surgery

Champagne Miss, the runner-up in the Generous Portion Stakes at Del Mar in August, is out for the year after undergoing colic surgery on Monday, a day after she finished third in a maiden race.

Trainer Dan Hendricks said that Champagne Miss was treated at a nearby equine hospital and will remain there through the weekend.

"The prognosis is very good," Hendricks said. "She'll go to the farm for a couple of months."

Hendricks had hoped that Champagne Miss could use the maiden race as a prep to the California Cup Juvenile Fillies on Nov. 3.

* The $75,000 June Darling Stakes for 2-year-old statebred fillies failed to fill Saturday and will not be rescheduled, officials said.