06/05/2008 11:00PM

Victorina brings impressive record to Emerald


AUBURN, Wash. - When Victorina contests the $50,000 Washington State Legislators Handicap on Sunday, she can lay claim to being the most accomplished filly or mare sprinter to compete at Emerald Downs since Ema Bovary won the same race in 2003.

Through 19 starts to date, the 5-year-old Victorina has won nine races at seven different tracks, including six stakes, for $475,033 in earnings. She has also run second to millionaires Hystericalady and Somethinaboutlaura, and last year she finished a troubled fourth as the favorite to Maryfield, the eventual winner of the inaugural Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint. Victorina could clearly compete anywhere. So what is she doing here?

"She has been ready to run for two or three weeks now, and the race I had picked out for her at Golden Gate didn't fill," said trainer Greg Gilchrist. "I looked around for another race on the West Coast, and I thought this race would fill the bill. It's a nice place you have up there, and I sure enjoyed my last visit."

That was back in 1998, when Gilchrist brought Wild Wonder here to win the Grade 3 Longacres Mile in what was then a track-record 1:33.20. He couldn't predict a similar performance from Victorina, but he expects a representative effort.

"She is doing very well, and she is such a versatile and consistent mare that I never really worry about her," said the trainer. "Nothing bothers her. She is a very good shipper, and she can run just about any distance on any surface. She is just an awfully nice mare to have in my barn."

Rival has seen Victorina up close

Galen May, who has been caring for the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained Private Dreams during that 4-year-old filly's monthlong stay at Emerald Downs, is very familiar with Victorina. Another of May's frequent companions, Somethinaboutlaura, defeated Victorina in the Luck Be a Lady Handicap at Bay Meadows in October. Though he respects Victorina's abilities, May feels that Private Dreams, who won the Hastings Park Handicap by nearly six lengths here on May 18, may be able to do the same thing on Sunday.

"I really believe that Private Dreams is a better sprinter than Somethinaboutlaura, so I think she can run with Victorina," said May. "She is just doing super now. She worked a half-mile in 46.80 last Sunday, and it was the best I have ever seen her go. Another horse hooked up with her, and she just toyed with that horse.

"Leslie Mawing just sat on Private Dreams and the other rider was working hard, but she just ran away from that horse. Believe me, she is at the top of her game right now."

Beaulena could surprise at a price

With Victorina, Private Dreams, and local divisional leader Shampoo figuring to draw the lion's share of the wagering, just about everyone else in the Washington State Legislators Handicap figures to go off at double-digit odds. That should make for some enticing betting opportunities on some very nice sprinters, including Beaulena.

The 8-year-old Beaulena was dismissed at 39-1 in the Hastings Park Handicap, but she came from far back to get second with a bold rush. Trainer Blaine Wright thinks she can run even better on Sunday.

"That was her first race of the year, and she really should move forward this time," said Wright. "She gets more distance this time, too, and it looks like she will have more speed to run at. She came out of her last race really well, she has put in two strong workouts, and she is feeling really good. I'll be surprised if she doesn't come back with another big effort. She is the kind of mare who shows up every time."

Tacoma possible for Jaton Carries On

Wright admitted to being excited about Jaton Carries On, who won for the second time in as many starts in a $40,000 optional claiming race for 3-year-olds here last Sunday. Jaton Carries On, a son of Jump Start who won his debut at the maiden special weight level in May, overcame trouble on the turn to win drawing clear in 1:17.20 for 6 1/2 furlongs.

"It was nice to see that he could have some adversity and still get the job done," said Wright. "I have always felt that he has a lot of potential, and I don't think we've gotten near to the bottom of him yet. He is going to want to route."

Wright said he would like to find an allowance race for Jaton Carries On, but he fears that such a race might not fill. With that in mind, he is tentatively pointing Jaton Carries On toward the $50,000 Tacoma Handicap on June 29.

"I hate to rush him into stakes company, but there might not be much choice," said the trainer. "I'll train him like he is going to run in the Tacoma. At some point I'll work him seven furlongs, and if he has to go in the Tacoma he'll be ready. He has a high cruising speed, so I really think he will blossom around two turns. If he keeps improving, he could be pretty special.