12/17/2009 1:00AM

Afleet Deceit back from injury in sprint


STICKNEY, Ill. - The 3-year-old filly Afleet Deceit won a wicked speed duel with favored Hooh Why in the Double Delta Stakes on May 2 at Arlington, but the victory cost her the entire summer. Afleet Deceit came out of the Double Delta with an injury, and she resumes her racing career in the featured fifth race Friday at Hawthorne.

Afleet Deceit is the 8-5 morning-line favorite in a six-furlong, second-level allowance race also open to $30,000 claimers. She's coupled in the wagering with City Royale and will square off against That's a Fact, Cruise, Grace Almighty, Cerveza, and Appeal with Zeal.

Afleet Deceit rubbed shoulders with true celebrity earlier in 2009, finishing second to Rachel Alexandra in both the Martha Washington and Fantasy stakes at Oaklawn Park. In between those races, she also was second in the Honeybee, beaten by another nice filly, Just Jenda. Afleet Deceit did well in Arkansas, and her connections, owner Bill Stiritz and trainer Scott Becker, are pointing her to stakes there in 2010.

"Everything is going excellent," Becker said. "We're just trying to get a race under her before we go to Hot Springs."

Stiritz is chairman of Fairmount Park, and many of his better horses get legged up there before shipping to more major venues. Afleet Deceit has posted six workouts - including two bullets - at Fairmount, and her trainer has pronounced her fit to win Friday.

"She's galloped out in all the works real strong," Becker said. "She's ready to go."

Becker took over Stiritz's string in Chicago from Terry Gestes earlier this year, and Afleet Deceit's injury was part of a less than ideal Arlington Park meet for him. But Hawthorne has been better: Becker had 12 wins, 12 seconds, and 6 thirds from 51 starters entering this week's racing. Those numbers, Becker suggested, would be even stronger had a wet October not moved so many scheduled turf races to dirt.

"We've had a decent meet overall," said Becker, "but the turf racing wasn't like we hoped."

Afleet Deceit has a worthy rival Friday in Cruise, a winner in 4 of her 6 starts. Illinois-bred Cruise won a race at this class level and distance by more than three lengths on Nov. 25 - but there was no Afleet Deceit that day.