02/18/2010 1:00AM

Welken tries to stretch hot streak


ARCADIA, Calif. - Welken has displayed the best results of her career in the last five months, winning 4 of 5 starts at Santa Anita and Hollywood Park. Streaks like that can make a horse a bettor's darling, which is why Welken will be favored to win an optional claimer over 1 1/8 miles on turf in Friday's seventh race at Santa Anita.

The conditions are not as easy as her recent starts against claimers. The distance will be the longest race of Welken's 24-race career, which includes eight wins.

Owned by Nick Alexander and trained by Mike Mitchell, Welken, 6, won a $50,000 claimer over a mile on turf Jan. 28, overcoming trouble through the stretch before pulling clear under Mike Smith for a two-length win as the even-money favorite.

"If I had my choice, I'd like it to be a mile," Mitchell said. "She rated so kind. She's not like a runoff or anything like that. [Smith] had plenty of horse and just needed an opening.

"I think she'll be tested in this race. It's a little tougher group of horses than she's been facing, but I think she deserves a shot."

Welken is entered for a $62,500 claiming price, the only starter available for a price.

Devine Actress, winner of a first-condition allowance race over a mile on the synthetic main track Jan. 31, is one of four fillies in the field who won their last starts.

My Aunt Fanny pulled an 8-1 upset with a torrid late rally in a $32,000 claimer over a mile on turf Jan. 31 in her U.S. debut. A Jealous Woman has won her last three starts, two six-furlong turf races at Hollywood Park and a first-condition allowance race over a mile on turf here Jan. 10, outfinishing Devine Actress.

Trainer David Hofmans said Devine Actress has rebounded well from her Jan. 31 race and said the infrequency of races such as Friday's optional claimer makes this race mandatory.

"The race didn't seem to take too much out of her," Hofmans said. "We better run when we can. I think we entered her six times for the last race. I don't know when we'll get this race again."

Trainer Neil Drysdale starts Michael's Rose, who will wear blinkers for the first time. She was a close third in a similar race Jan. 14.