02/04/2009 12:00AM

Will Ciccina put new lessons to work?


ARCADIA, Calif. - Shortly after Ciccina beat maidens at Santa Anita on Jan. 9, trainer Mike Puype knew the filly needed more schooling.

Puype was concerned that Ciccina did not pull away in the stretch, winning by a neck. In recent weeks, Puype and his team have spent time teaching Ciccina to run away from horses.

The lessons can be put to use when Ciccina makes her debut against winners in a $48,000 allowance race for statebred fillies and mares at Santa Anita on Friday.

"She did everything asked of her in her second start, and off a layoff," Puype said of the maiden win. "She loomed up that day and hung to those horses. I hope she doesn't do that again. We've been working her in the mornings and getting her to leave the company."

Owned by breeder Steven Greco, Ciccina is making her third start on Friday. She finished sixth in her debut at Hollywood Park last May, emerging with a tibia injury, Puype said.

"The first race is better than looked," he said. "She was running at the end."

Ciccina, 4, had five rivals on Jan. 9. She is part of a field of eight on Friday.

"This race is more competitive, but she'll have to make the jump to be competitive," Puype said.

Ciccina will have a pace to follow. North Rodeo, who has drawn the outside, has shown speed. She was fourth in an allowance race on the hillside turf course on Jan. 15, leading to the final furlong before losing by a length.

"The day she went to the lead, I thought she'd win," trainer Bob Baffert said. "She got a little tired."

North Rodeo has 1 victory in 10 starts, and has been second or third in eight races.

Unworldly Heat may go off favored. Trained by Denise Breuer, Unworldly Heat has been second in two starts at this meeting, losing an optional claimer over 6 1/2 furlongs on the main track by a neck on Dec. 28 and an allowance race on the hillside turf course by a head on Jan. 15.

Flashover, a two-time winner, is making her fourth start. She was eighth in the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Sprint at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 24.

"I hope that didn't take too much out of her," trainer Barry Abrams said. "I think she's okay."