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OAK TREE AT SANTA ANITA : Magical Maiden Runs on Turf as if It Were a Day in the Dirt


Magical Maiden found out Sunday she likes grass just as much as dirt.

With seven victories, five seconds and six thirds in 22 starts on dirt, Magical Maiden's turf debut was equally as impressive at Santa Anita.

Challenged in the stretch by Miss Turkana and Fondly Remembered, the 5-year-old Lord Avie mare responded with a half-length victory in the $83,550 Louis R. Rowan Handicap.

Ridden by Gary Stevens, the horse's main jockey, Magical Maiden covered the mile in 1:36 and paid $10.20 as the 4-1 second choice. She also survived a foul claim by Gary Jones, Miss Turkana's trainer.

A 13-1 shot, Miss Turkana finished a half-length in front of 9-2 shot Fondly Remembered. Shir Dar, the 3-1 favorite, was fifth.

While she may have given owner Clement Hirsch and trainer Warren Stute some anxious moments, Stevens wasn't worried in the stretch.

"I know it's hard to say that you can be confident when it comes down that close," Stevens said. "But I feel more confidence on her than any horse I've ever ridden when you know it's going to come down to a photo.

"She knows where the wire is, and she always seems to have a little something in reserve. She always seems to stick her nose out at the right time. Like she's done so many times before, she gave me that little extra burst right before the wire today."

Now that Magical Maiden has shown she can handle turf, Stute is contemplating bringing entering her in Sunday's $400,000 Yellow Ribbon Stakes.

The beaten favorite in the Hillsborough Handicap at Bay Meadows last month, Miss Turkana perked up with the return to Santa Anita. She has two wins, a second and two thirds in eight tries.

"There was some contact in the stretch, but apparently not enough to take (Magical Maiden's) number down," said Antonio Castanon, Miss Turkana's rider. "She tried very hard today, but she might have needed the race."


Del Mar Oaks winner Twice The Vice, who apparently didn't care for the track at Keeneland when unplaced in the recent Spinster, heads a field of eight 3-year-old fillies in Wednesday's $100,000 Linda Vista Breeders' Cup Handicap.

Eddie Delahoussaye will be reunited with trainer Tom Bell's filly, who broke her maiden and won the Anoakia Stakes last year at Santa Anita.

The rest of the field, from the rail out, includes Princess Mitterand, Crissy Aya, who will be ridden by champion Japanese jockey Yutaka Take, Dancing Mirage, Malli Star, Rotten Row, Dianes Halo and Just Tops.

Horse Racing Notes

Even though the favorites didn't win a race in the Pick Six, there was one correct ticket that paid more than $513,000. . . . Gary Stevens won two other races besides the Rowan--the second with Lomonds Double and the fourth with Creston.

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