01/22/2009 12:00AM

Ten Churros going about as far as she can


ARCADIA, Calif. - The California-bred Ten Churros may be too fast for her own good. She has led or disputed the pace in all seven of her starts, but does not always hold on at the finish.

Races at seven furlongs and 1 1/16 miles have proven too far for her, which makes Saturday's six-furlong, $250,000 Sunshine Millions Oaks over the Santa Anita Pro-Ride a better fit for Ten Churros. The distance of the Oaks is the same as in Ten Churros's last win, in the Generous Portion Stakes at Del Mar last August. She beat maidens in a five-furlong sprint at Hollywood Park last June.

In her most recent start, the California Breeders' Champion Stakes over seven furlongs at Santa Anita on Dec. 27, Ten Churros led by two lengths at the eighth pole and faded to finish third, four lengths behind winner Saucey Evening.

"She wanted no part of seven furlongs," trainer Bob Baffert said. "She's so fast you can't hold her back."

Even at a shorter distance, Ten Churros will need an ideal trip to win the Oaks, which has drawn six California-breds and three Florida-breds.

Ten Churros enters the Sunshine Millions Oaks on a three-race losing streak. She was second in the California Cup Juvenile over 1 1/16 miles in October and third in the Sharp Cat Stakes over 1 1/16 miles in November.

"She's consistent," Baffert said.

Ten Churros has won 2 of 7 starts and $137,567 for owners Hal and Patti Earnhardt.

Ten Churros is one of several fillies expected to be part of the pace, a group that also includes the Louisiana invader Leigh McLovin.

Trained by Ronny Werner, Leigh McLovin, a Florida-bred, has won her last two starts, both over six furlongs at Fair Grounds - a maiden race in November and her stakes debut in the Letellier Memorial Stakes on Dec. 20. She led throughout the Letellier Memorial against five rivals and was never really threatened, winning by four lengths.

The Florida-bred Emmy Darling won the Landaluce Stakes over six furlongs at Hollywood Park last June.

Trained by John Sadler, Emmy Darling is also dropping back in distance. In the fall, she ran in two one-mile stakes on turf, finishing fifth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita in October and fourth, beaten three-quarters of a length, in the Grade 3 Miesque Stakes at Hollywood Park in November.

Three California-bred fillies are making their stakes debuts - Beltene, Dancing Erin, and Yodelady O. Beltene won a maiden claimer at Hollywood Park on Dec. 10 and a starter allowance here on Jan. 10. Even though Beltene won both of those races by at least two lengths, trainer Jack Carava acknowledged that this will be a more difficult race.

"She acts like she's got more room for improvement," Carava said. "I'm a little scared of coming back in two weeks. If she stakes a step forward, she'll be right there."