12/11/2006 12:00AM

Upset winner Sekira gets a turf trial


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - After finishing ninth and 10th in her first two starts, Sekira deserved to be 43-1 when she made her third start at Hollywood Park on Nov. 25.

But her front-running upset victory that day did not entirely surprise trainer Dan Hendricks. Now he is hoping that Sekira will duplicate that effort when she makes her first start on turf, in an optional claimer at six furlongs at Hollywood Park on Wednesday.

"She wasn't quite up to racing in the beginning," Hendricks said. "She needed a race, mentally. In her second start, she came out of it sick. She had a legitimate excuse."

Hendricks said that Sekira has "turned around" while training on Hollywood Park's synthetic track in recent weeks. In her maiden win, Sekira pulled away in early stretch to score by 1 1/2 lengths.

With an eye toward the upcoming Santa Anita winter-spring meeting, Hendricks is trying Sekira on turf on Wednesday.

"I thought I'd try this and see if she likes the turf," Hendricks said. "If she takes to this, she can run six-and-a-half [furlongs] down the hill or run a mile. I've got lots of options. If not, I'll find a race on dirt."

Sekira's biggest threat is Shes Got Skills, a winner of one race in six starts.

Shes Got Skills has been unplaced in two stakes, finishing fifth in the Sorrento Stakes at Del Mar and 10th in the Oak Leaf Breeders' Cup Stakes at Santa Anita. In her only subsequent start, she finished a game third in an optional claimer at six furlongs on turf here on Nov. 16.

Trained by Peter Miller, Shes Got Skills won a maiden race at 5 1/2 furlongs on turf at Hollywood Park in June.

Down the Well makes her first start for a claiming price after two losses in stakes. Trained by Jim Cassidy, Down the Well finished fifth in the restricted Hidden Light Stakes at Santa Anita on Oct. 27 and eighth in the Grade 3 Miesque Stakes here on Nov. 25. She had two wins in England earlier this year.

The other entrants are Company Secret, Hello Bolly, Mia Countess, Miss Melissa, and St Wager.

Company Secret is making her first start on turf. She ran seventh in the Grade 3 Sorrento in her last start, on Aug. 5. She worked five furlongs in 58.80 seconds from the gate on Dec. 2, the fastest of 75 works at the distance that day.