10/08/2004 11:00PM

Wait for 'Penny' worthwhile


ARCADIA, Calif. - With a shaggy coat and a moderate record, did not look like a future stakes winner when she arrived at trainer Jenine Sahadi's stable from Kentucky last winter.

"I wasn't overly impressed when she showed up," Sahadi said. "It's taken her a while to come around."

Since the middle of the summer, Penny's Fortune has rebounded. Monday at Santa Anita, she seeks her third consecutive victory, and second stakes win, in the $100,000 Harold Ramser Handicap for 3-year-old fillies.

Run over a mile on turf, the Ramser has drawn 11 entrants, including Sweet Win, who won the San Clemente Handicap and was third in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks during the summer; Lovely Rafaela, who won the Honeymoon Breeders' Cup Handicap at Hollywood Park in June; and Shake Off and John's Kinda Girl, the first two finishers of the Barona Cup at Del Mar in August.

Sweet Win is the 119-pound topweight and will go favored.

A stalker, Sweet Win rallied from 10 lengths off the pace to win the Grade 2 San Clemente. She encountered trouble in the Del Mar Oaks and was only beaten a length behind Amorama and Ticker Tape.

"I was pretty happy with both races," trainer Jeff Mullins said. "She doesn't go until you ask her to. She's a pretty honest filly."

Mullins said he did not consider the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Keeneland on Saturday.

"She's been off a bit and I'd rather look for an easier spot," Mullins said.

The Florida invader Potion is likely to set the pace. She could face early pressure from Mea Domina, a sharp winner of a maiden race over 1 1/16 miles on turf at Del Mar on Aug. 28. Trained by Ron McAnally, Mea Domina was making her turf debut in that race, her fourth career out.

Penny's Fortune and Lovely Rafaela will not be far from the front.

Lovely Rafaela is making her first start since finishing 12th in the American Oaks on July 3, emerging with a sore foot.

Penny's Fortune began her winning streak in an optional claimer over 1 1/16 miles on turf at Del Mar on Aug. 15. She stalked the pace for six furlongs and won by three-quarters of a length.

In the Carmel Handicap at Bay Meadows on Sept. 12, she was fourth on the backstretch and took the lead in early stretch, winning by two lengths.

"She started to do well at Del Mar," Sahadi said. "The talent was there."