01/17/2005 1:00AM

Two seek a boost into stakes


ARCADIA, Calif. - Etamine and Kizka scored stylish wins in maiden races on turf last month. Both displayed the sort of performance that could lead to a stakes appearance in coming months.

Wednesday, they can move closer to a start in an important race when they meet for the first time in a $48,000 optional claimer over about 6 1/2 furlongs on turf at Santa Anita. There will be ample support for both, but Kizka could be a slight favorite.

has made only one start, winning a maiden race by two lengths on the hillside turf course here on Dec. 27. While she has made one fewer start than Etamine, Kizka does have experience on the course.

has made two starts, finishing sixth in her debut at Hollywood Park on Nov. 14 and returning to win a maiden race over 5 1/2 furlongs on Dec. 4.

Trained by Richard Mandella, Kizka is by Danzig and has impressed the Mandella stable since she began serious training last year.

"She's trained well, what she's done," Mandella said. "She acts like she's dying to race again. She trained very smartly."

Etamine, who is by Gone West, is trained by Neil Drysdale. She rallied from seventh in a 12-horse field to beat maidens by 1 1/4 lengths on Dec. 4.

The fillies have distinct styles - Kizka raced near the front when she won, while Etamine rallied from off the pace.

If either wins, she could be considered for the $100,000 La Habra Stakes for 3-year-old fillies over about 6 1/2 furlongs on turf on March 6.

They have seven opponents, including recent maiden winner Royal Wave; Swift Wings, who failed in two sprint stakes; and Etoile Petite, an invader from Golden Gate Fields.

has not started since winning a maiden race over six furlongs in October. Trained by Luis Seglin, she rallied from 11th to pull a surprise at 22-1. Although Royal Wave has not started on turf, she is by Royal Academy, a proven turf sire.

Swift Wings is winless in two starts since scoring a victory over six furlongs at Del Mar on Aug. 22. Trained by Ron McAnally, Swift Wings finished seventh in the Anoakia Stakes over six furlongs on Oct. 24 and seventh in the Moccasin Stakes at Hollywood Park on Nov. 21. She is making her turf debut.

Etoile Petite beat maidens by five lengths at Bay Meadows on Nov. 7, but returned to finish third in an allowance race on Dec. 9.