01/17/2004 12:00AM

Whoopi Cat may need one

Whoopi Cat, here winning the Adirondack at Saratoga last August, was sidelined for months because of nagging foot ailments.

ARCADIA, Calif. - is the lone graded stakes winner in Monday's $150,000 Santa Ynez Stakes at Santa Anita, but the six-month gap since her last race concerns trainer Patrick Biancone.

Whoopi Cat won the Grade 2 Adirondack Stakes over 6 1/2 furlongs at Saratoga last August but missed important stakes later in the year because of a minor foot injury.

"She was supposed to be one of the best on the East Coast, but she had an abscess in each foot," Biancone said. "She's good now."

The Santa Ynez is the first of two $150,000 stakes Monday. Later, the San Marcos Stakes will be run over 1 1/4 miles on turf.

In addition to Whoopi Cat, 10 other 3-year-old fillies were entered in the seven-furlong Santa Ynez, a race loaded with contenders.

Rahy Dolly and House of Fortune were second and third in the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet on Dec. 21. Silent Sighs and Yearly Report were first and second in the filly division of the California Breeders' Champion Stakes on Dec. 27. Bending Strings, Cardinalli, Nandu, and Papa to Kinzie are coming off victories in overnight races.

Silent Sighs is unlikely to start. Trainer Julio Canani on Saturday said she would be sent to Gulfstream Park for this weekend's Sunshine Millions Oaks.

The speedy Papa to Kinzie is likely to influence the outcome. Trained by Marty Jones, she scored a convincing win in a maiden race over 6 1/2 furlongs at Hollywood Park on Nov. 28, leading throughout in quick fractions.

Cardinalli finished second to Papa to Kinzie on Nov. 28, and returned to beat maidens in December.

Whoopi Cat is likely to stalk the pace, a strategy that has worked in recent races for House of Fortune and Yearly Report.

Biancone fears Whoopi Cat may need a start.

"She's well, but nothing is like a race," Biancone said. "She hasn't run in a long time."

House of Fortune reeled off three consecutive wins in late summer and fall for trainer Ron McAnally. She beat statebreds in the Cover Gal Stakes and California Cup Juvenile Fillies at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting, but was a well-beaten third behind Hollywood Story in the Hollywood Starlet.

Yearly Report finished second to the front-running Silent Sighs in her stakes debut. Trained by Bob Baffert, she won a maiden race for statebreds by four lengths in her career debut at Hollywood Park on Nov. 29.