01/26/2006 12:00AM

Two Cal-breds own top credentials

Da Stoops will be heavily bet off his Cal Breeders' Champion win.

ARCADIA, Calif. - How fast can 3-year-old sprinters run? The threshold might be tested in Saturday's $250,000 Sunshine Millions Dash at Santa Anita.

The six-furlong race for California-breds and Florida-breds figures to be run at a furious pace, which has left trainers with front-runners worried about the toll of a quick pace and those with closers eager to see if the race develops in their favor.

Both states have entrants with leading credentials, but the California-breds Da Stoops and Plagiarist each come off a flashy victory and figure to lead the betting in the field of eight.

, trained by Bob Baffert, won the California Breeders' Champion Stakes at seven furlongs at Santa Anita on Dec. 26, a day when front-runners had an advantage. Da Stoops won by 8 3/4 lengths, scoring his first stakes win.

has made one start, overwhelming rival maidens at Hollywood Park on Dec. 17 with a front-running win by 8 1/4 lengths over six furlongs.

Da Stoops and Plagiarist must hold off In Summation, a Florida-bred who dominated the Calder stakes for 2-year-olds last summer and fall, winning four consecutive stakes at distances ranging from 5 1/2 furlongs to seven furlongs. In his lone start this year, In Summation was fifth in the one-mile Aventura Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

Da Stoops drew the rail, which angered Baffert. He will be nervously watching the break, hoping that jockey Victor Espinoza can get Da Stoops away well.

"He's not really a sprinter's sprinter, but he's doing good," Baffert said. "He's ready. People think you have to send them away from there blazing, but the break is the most important factor. There is a lot of ridiculous speed. The horse is ready and that's all that matters."

Da Stoops is drawn alongside Dinner Magic, a Florida-bred who has raced in California throughout his career. Dinner Magic can run an opening quarter-mile in 21 seconds, but has yet to carry that quickness to a stakes win.

The thought of a duel between Da Stoops and Dinner Magic has trainer Doug O'Neill thinking that Plagiarist would be best as a stalker from post 6.

"I really don't ask him for a ton of speed in the morning," O'Neill said. "I think he can sit just off of it. For his second time out, I was so happy when I saw where he drew. With a little bit of luck, we should be in good shape."

In Summation and the ex-claimer Rattlesnake Joe could also get stalking trips. In Summation has never run as fast as Dinner Magic, and Rattlesnake Joe's best chance is from off the pace.

Rattlesnake Joe won an allowance race at 6 1/2 furlongs by 4 1/2 lengths at Hollywood Park on Dec. 15.

"The horse will settle," trainer Nick Hines said. "He doesn't have the natural speed of Da Stoops or Plagiarist, but I think he has the right style. He could be in the perfect spot."

The field

Sunshine Millions Dash
Purse: $250,000; 6 furlongs

1Da Stoops (CA)V. Espinoza9-5
2Dinner Magic (FL)J. Santiago20-1
3Corazondelcampeon (FL)A. Bisono15-1
4Rattlesnake Joe (FL)F. Martinez8-1
5Brite Maneuvers (CA)C. Nakatani8-1
6Plagiarist (CA)G. Gomez2-1
7In Summation (FL)C. Velasquez9-2
8Changing Weather (FL)D. Flores12-1

* All starters carry 120 pounds
* Blinkers on: Corazondelcampeon
* Blinkers off: Dinner Magic
* Odds by Michael Hammersly