04/04/2005 12:00AM

Wooden Ticket might be a good one


ARCADIA, Calif. - This is the week for 3-year-olds to shine in trainer Julio Canani's Santa Anita stable.

Wednesday, Canani starts the impeccably bred Wooden Ticket in a $52,000 allowance race over a mile. Saturday, he runs Sweet Catomine against males in the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby and Shining Energy in the $100,000 Providencia Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on turf.

is not as accomplished as his stablemates. He has made only one start, winning a seven-furlong maiden race. Wednesday's race gives the colt a chance to prove he is worth following in coming months.

After his victory on Feb. 13, Wooden Ticket was taken out of training briefly while recovering from a cut.

"He nicked himself the day he ran," Canani said. "He needed three stitches. He missed a tendon by a half an inch. He walked for 10 days before we resumed training again."

In the maiden race, Wooden Ticket rallied from last in a field of six to win by a nose over the highly regarded Canteen. By A.P. Indy, Wooden Ticket is out of Exotic Wood, a Grade 1 winner. Wooden Ticket is owned by Marty and Pam Wygod, who also own Sweet Catomine.

"He's a very nice horse," Canani said.

Wooden Ticket has seven opponents in Wednesday's race and is the lone 3-year-old in the field.

His toughest competition should come from Greg's Gold, a 4-year-old trained by David Hofmans. The winner of consecutive sprints last fall at Hollywood Park, Greg's Gold stretched out to a mile in an optional claimer at Santa Anita on March 10. Sent off as the favorite, Greg's Gold stumbled at the start and recovered to get within a head of the leader in midstretch. He finished a half-length behind the winner, Pointe Birds.

has shown speed, and jockey Rene Douglas may need to use some of that pace to save ground into the first turn.

Mike Mitchell has two entrants, Sapore di Mare and Sharpster. Each was second in his last start. Sapore di Mare was beaten two lengths by Power Boy after leading in early stretch of an allowance race on March 5.

Aside from Greg's Gold, the speed will come from , who is making his first start for trainer Bill Spawr. Executive Choice has won his last two starts, including a $40,000 claimer in the slop on Feb. 19.