10/23/2006 11:00PM

Wait is over for two milers


ARCADIA, Calif. - Unusual Suspect and Warning Zone have waited two months for the $60,000 Pinjara Stakes on Thursday at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meet.

Southern California 2-year-old racing is heavy with sprints, a dynamic that does not shift until autumn. After maiden turf route wins in summer at Del Mar, Unusual Suspect and Warning Zone could only kill time before another opportunity to run long on grass.

"No races," said Warning Zone's trainer, John Sadler, explaining the two-month gap between starts. Warning Zone won his second start Aug. 23, racing one mile in 1:37.06. One day later, Unusual Suspect raced over the same course and got the distance in 1:35.92.

If he picks up where he left off, Unusual Suspect, trained by Barry Abrams, can win the Pinjara. Six others in the eight-horse field will aim for an upset in the mile turf race, including Sadler's other starter, Edwardian, who might be better than his maiden win Sept. 30.

Edwardian was making his fourth career start, after a second-place finish and two thirds at Del Mar, when he won that mile turf race in 1:37.09. Two horses who finished well behind him, seventh-place Booming Comps and last-place C'Mon Buddy, have since returned to win. Edwardian might be a better colt than the final time indicates, and Sadler does not label him strictly a turf horse.

"We sprinted him more than we wanted at Del Mar because it looked like he was ready to win," Sadler said. "But the way he is bred" - sired by Awesome Again - "we think he's a route horse, and not necessarily turf."

That he handles grass and is the only starter to have raced on the Santa Anita turf makes Edwardian a serious contender Thursday. He is nothing more, and nothing less. The Pinjara is the Oak Tree prep for the Grade 3 Generous, a mile turf stakes for 2-year-olds that will be run Nov.o24 at Hollywood Park.

The Pinjara will provide European imports Varsity Blues and Whatsthescript a chance to become familiar with U.S. racing before facing tougher company. Varsity Blues won 2 of 6 starts in Ireland, all at six furlongs or shorter, and will be making his U.S. debut for trainer Ron McAnally. Whatsthescript won 1 of 3 in Ireland and finished third in a listed stakes.

The speed of the Pinjara is provided by Street Lights, a California-bred sprinter adding blinkers for his first start around two turns and first try on grass. Street Lights, however, does not finish like a horse who wants a distance of ground. Other starters include Sevengoldmissiles and Lord Elijah.