12/22/2006 12:00AM

'Angel' looks very solid, but at short price


MIAMI - Sunday will be the last chance for horseplayers to "get the Christmas money," as the racetrack adage goes. Unfortunately, making any real Christmas swag in the featured 11th race at Calder figures to take a significant investment with Send Me an Angel likely to be very difficult to beat as the odds-on favorite in the $25,000 optional claiming sprint for fillies and mares.

Send Me an Angel has posted Beyer Speed Figures of 91 and 95 while a runner-up in each of her last two starts, including a sharp second behind Rgirldoesntbluff in an overnight stakes on Oct. 15. In comparison, the highest last-race Beyer of any of her six seemingly overmatched rivals in Sunday's 5 1/2-furlong sprint is the 79 earned by Songofthesouth for finishing three lengths behind Send Me an Angel in a similar optional claiming race on Dec. 9.

Send Me an Angel, a 3-year-old daughter of Halo's Image, has not finished worse than second in her last five starts on dirt. She was also runner-up to the multiple stakes winner Running Lass in the Genes Big Sky Stakes in July. She figures to be on or with the pace from the outset on Sunday under jockey Cornelio Velasquez.

Songofthesouth flashed early speed before fading to finish fourth in her most recent start, and is likely to improve off that race, her first in eight weeks. Songofthesouth posted back-to-back victories during a 13-day span in August but has gone winless in four subsequent starts, including a pair of dull stakes tries on grass.

Double Delta and Kentucky invader Lady's Case are the only two members of the field coming into the race off a win. Double Delta rallied to a three-quarter-length decision over high-priced conditioned claiming foes on Dec. 7, while Lady's Case beat open $25,000 claiming rivals by nearly three lengths at Churchill Downs on Nov. 22.

Tchula Miss, the only older horse in the field, has failed to run back to her stakes-caliber form since returning from a 17-month layoff this fall. The 7-year-old Tchula Miss has been badly outrun in three starts on the comeback trail and will race with a price tag on her head for the first time in her career on Sunday.

Hope to Dance and Sea Birdie complete the lineup.