08/11/2004 12:00AM

Test the Waters on way up


DEL MAR, Calif. - Test the Waters caught trainer Jeff Mullins by surprise when she won an allowance race at Hollywood Park on July 11.

Mullins expected Test the Waters to run well in her second start after a two-year layoff, but not necessarily win. A loss would have allowed Test the Waters to return in a first-condition allowance race for California-breds. Instead, she rallied from last in a field of six to win by a length.

"I thought it was pretty impressive," Mullins said.

The win led Test the Waters to be entered in a more difficult $63,000 optional claimer over 1 1/8 miles on turf at Del Mar on Friday. A victory would enhance the chances for a stakes appearance later this year for Test the Waters. Mullins has already nominated her to several races on the California Cup program on Oct. 16.

Friday, Test the Waters is the only filly or mare in a field of eight who is coming off a win. Victor Espinoza has the mount, replacing an injured Alex Solis.

is best from off the pace, and faces a field that lacks a standout. Several of the fillies and mares have lengthy losing streaks.

The race lacks a clear front-runner, which could lead Spark Sept and Bukat Timah to contribute to the pace. They will be coupled in the betting since both are owned by Gary Tanaka.

was a stakes winner in France in 2002 but is winless in nine U.S. starts.

finished third in two allowance races at Hollywood Park in June. A stakes winner in Italy last year, she is trained by Neil Drysdale.

, a stalker, ran well in her last start. Imported from England last winter, she finished second in an allowance race over this course on July 21, losing by a length to Theater R.N. The race was run at 1 1/16 miles on turf, and the additional distance on Friday should work to Uraib's advantage. Uraib is trained by Sandy Shulman.

will attract support. A stakes winner in Argentina last year, she finished a disappointing fourth in her U.S. debut, an allowance race on dirt at Hollywood Park on July 16. Trained by Ron McAnally, Good Student beat maidens at five furlongs on turf in Argentina last year.