04/09/2008 12:00AM

Two face a challenge in turf race


ARCADIA, Calif. - Souvenir Slew is a proven stakes horse, having finished third in two graded stakes last summer. Uffizi is a proven turf horse, with four wins on the surface in his 22-race career.

Both will be trying to do something for the first time in an optional claimer at Santa Anita on Friday - win at 1o1/4 miles on turf. The $61,000 race is the third on a rare nine-race weekday program.

Souvenir Slew, third in the Grade 3 Colonial Turf Cup on turf and Grade 2 Swaps Breeders' Cup Stakes on the main track last year, is seeking his first win since an optional claimer at 1 1/8 miles on turf at Del Mar last summer.

Following that race, Souvenir Slew was eased in the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby, was given the fall and winter off, and then returned to finish sixth after a poor start in an allowance race over a mile on turf at Santa Anita on March 22.

The slow start worked against the colt, who must be close to the front throughout the race to be effective, according to trainer Craig Dollase.

"In the longer races, he's more competitive," Dollase said. "In the shorter races, he doesn't have any speed.

"He broke slow. The mile and a quarter should be in his alley. He's a grinder-type of horse. He'll be up close."

Souvenir Slew will be ridden by Michael Baze, who was aboard for the Swaps and the win at Del Mar last summer.

"Michael Baze was the last rider to win on him," Dollase said. "I think it's a race he can step up in."

Souvenir Slew has drawn the rail in a field of six. The only horse in the field coming off a victory is Tent, who won a first-condition allowance race on March 21. Tent has won 2 of 25 starts.

Uffizi was second in the same race as Souvenir Slew on March 22, and has raced in high-priced claimers and allowance races in the last year. A 5-year-old gelding trained by Mike Mitchell for Bongo Racing Stable and Dan Capen, Uffizi was second in an allowance race over 1 3/8 miles on turf at Gulfstream Park in February 2007.

Since joining Mitchell's stable last summer, Uffizi has won 2 of 7 starts.