11/16/2007 1:00AM

Two Brazilian imports trigger wow meter

EmailINGLEWOOD, Calif. - Watch out for the girls from Brazil. Zardana, who won all three of her starts in her native land by a combined margin of 39 lengths, and Greetings, who was a Group 3 stakes winner before heading to the United Arab Emirates, both will be making their U.S. debuts at Hollywood Park in Sunday's fourth race, a third-level allowance.

Most of the attention will be on Zardana. Not only does she have a breathtaking record in Brazil, but her trainer, Ron McAnally, has repeatedly done well with South American imports during a career that long ago landed him in the Hall of Fame.

Might Zardana follow in the footsteps of Bayakoa and Paseana?

"You can't really say too much until they've run," McAnally said Friday morning. "You just hope they're as good as you think they are. One step at a time."

McAnally does allow, however, that Zardana - who was purchased privately by Arnold Zetcher - has "been very impressive."

"She's done everything well," he said. "She was close to a race at Del Mar, but she got sick and we had to back off. We had to give her a chance to get over the flu. But she's been ready to run for three or four weeks now. She should be plenty fit.

"Arnold and I both looked at her tapes, and she was very impressive. She was winning her races in hand by 10, 12, 16 lengths."

Alex Solis, who will ride Zardana, already has been aboard her for workouts in the morning.

"She's very special," Solis said. "I've worked her a few times, and if she has the same speed here, it's going to be fun."

Greetings, 4, is a year older than Zardana and has run nine times. She was unbeaten on dirt in Brazil - she lost twice on grass there - then won once in four starts in Dubai.

"She's done very good," her trainer, Paulo Lobo, said Friday morning. "I've seen tape of McAnally's filly. She won all her races easy."

Debut of Congaree's half-brother

If balloting is held to determine the best horse of this decade not to win an Eclipse Award, Congaree would be among the to vote-getters, if not the winner. He twice won the Cigar Mile, and captured the Hollywood Gold Cup, Swaps Stakes, Wood Memorial, and Carter during a career in which he won 12 of 25 starts and $3,267,490.

In Sunday's seventh race, Congaree's half-brother Sangaree makes his debut going six furlongs for Bob Baffert, who also trained Congaree. Like Congaree, Sangaree is a homebred for Bob and Janice McNair's Stonerside Stable. Both are out of the Mari's Book mare Mari's Sheba. Congaree was by Arazi, while Sangaree is a son of Awesome Again.

"He's a horse that's taken awhile to come around," Baffert said Friday morning of Sangaree, who is in the second half of a maiden 2-year-old race that drew so many entrants it was split into two races. "I think he'll need a race. He'll be better going two turns. This horse has been a little slower coming around than Congaree. Fortunately, the McNairs are very patient."

Baffert also has the Aptitude colt Canyon Drive making his debut in the seventh race, and he has first-time starter Nate, as well as Hoods Up, in the fifth race, the other division of this maiden race.

Hoods Up ran third in his debut going 5 1/2 furlongs at Bay Meadows on Oct. 21.

"I sent him up there because I wanted to get an out in him," Baffert said. "The only thing they had at Santa Anita when he was ready to run was seven furlongs. He should run better this time, but I hear the horse outside him is a scorpion."

That would be Gayego, a son of Gilded Time who is making his debut for Lobo.

"He delivered a very good work from the gate, but he worked a little faster than I wanted," Lobo said, referring to a five-furlong drill in 58.20 seconds on Nov. 8. "He has been training well."

Elinvar surprised even her handlers

Elinvar unleashed a powerful closing charge to win her debut on the downhill turf course at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting on Oct. 12 under jockey Mike Smith, which trainer John Shirreffs fully expected, right? Not exactly.

"She surprised me," Shirreffs said. "I think she surprised Mike, too. She was coasting, and then it was, here she goes. She kicked in."

The assignment is tougher on Sunday. Elinvar will stretch out around two turns and face winners for the first time in a first-level allowance going 1 1/16 miles on turf. It goes as the eighth race.

"She looks like a horse who will enjoy a little more distance," Shirreffs said. "Winning a maiden race first time is a big step, and then having to run against winners is another big step."

Elinvar, a daughter of Elusive Quality, cost $600,000 two years ago as a yearling.

Great racing Thanksgiving weekend

Augment, who was a disappointing ninth in the Oak Tree Derby after finishing second in the Del Mar Derby, worked six furlongs in 1:12.80 on Friday at Hollywood Park for a likely start Nov. 25 in the Grade 1, $500,000 Hollywood Derby, part of a terrific weekend of stakes racing next week.

The 1 1/4-mile Derby and the Grade 1, $500,000 Matriarch Stakes, for older fillies and mares, both will be run Nov. 25. Augment will be a longshot in a race that is expected to attract the likes of Bold Hawk, Medici Code, Nobiz Like Shobiz, Twilight Meteor, and Worldly.

The Matriarch, at one mile, is expected to include Dance Away Capote, Lady of Venice, Naissance Royale, Precious Kitten, Vacare, Wait a While, and possibly Citronnade.

There are two stakes scheduled each day next week from Thursday through Sunday, beginning on Thanksgiving Day with the Grade 3, $100,000 Hollywood Prevue for 2-year-olds, and the $65,000 Hermosa Beach Handicap for female turf runners.

The Prevue, a prep for next month's Grade 1, $750,000 CashCall Futurity, is expected to include Into Mischief, a son of Harlan's Holiday who was a powerful winner of his debut Oct. 21 at Santa Anita for trainer Richard Mandella.

Others pointing for the Prevue include Bob Black Jack, Drewthegentleman, Meal Penalty, Sky Cape, and Winsome Charm.

Meal Penalty, unbeaten in two starts at Keeneland and the Meadowlands, worked five furlongs in 1:03 on Friday.