10/07/2004 11:00PM

Back at scene of success


MIAMI - Owners Philip and Marcia Cohen are hoping lightning will strike a second time at Calder when their undefeated 2-year-old Closing Argument competes in the $400,000 In Reality Stakes on Oct. 23.

Three years ago, the Cohens sent Booklet here with trainer Steve Klesaris and the colt won the 1 1/16-mile In Reality, the final leg of the open division of the Florida Stallion Stakes. Booklet was ultimately sold privately to owner John Oxley and went on to become a Grade 1 stakes winner.

Closing Argument is trained by Kiaran McLaughlin. A son of Successful Appeal, he was purchased for $100,000 at the Ocala April sale.

Closing Argument launched his career Aug. 25 at Saratoga, rallying to a three-length victory over Prime, a highly regarded first-time starter from trainer Todd Pletcher's potent barn. McLaughlin wasted little time wheeling Closing Argument right back. Closing Argument shipped to Delaware, where he was an easy four-length winner just 10 days later in the six-furlong NATC Futurity.

"We think we've got a pretty nice horse, and we're excited about being there for the In Reality," McLaughlin said. "The only question mark is the distance, since he's never been beyond six furlongs, and I'm not sure if Successful Appeals can get a mile and one-sixteenth down there."

McLaughlin will return to south Florida for the first time since his incredible 2004 Gulfstream Park meeting, in which he won with better than 40 percent of his starters. Four-time Calder jockey champion Cornelio Velasquez, who was aboard Closing Argument for his debut win at Saratoga, will have the mount once again for the In Reality.

Cin Cin, a winner of his last three starts, including the mile and 70-yard Foolish Pleasure Stakes here last weekend, heads the local contingent with designs on the In Reality.

'Serenity' to ship for My Dear Girl

Trainer Tim Hamm plans to ship Southern Serenity, a 2-year-old daughter of Sweetsouthernsaint, to Calder for the $400,000 My Dear Girl division of the Stallion Stakes on Oct. 23, according to racing secretary Bob Umphrey. Southern Serenity has won 2 of her 4 starts, including a first-level allowance race going a mile at Turfway Park on Sept. 26.

Southern Serenity will attempt to spoil Aclassysassylassy's attempt to sweep the filly division of the series in the 1 1/16-mile My Dear Girl.

Formal Miss tries to bounce back

Formal Miss will be looking for a little redemption, while Teak Totem will attempt to prove that her victory in the Aspidistra Handicap was no fluke when the pair meet again in Sunday's $40,000 Garden Saint Stakes. The overnight race for fillies and mares will be run at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

Formal Miss finished seventh, nine lengths behind Teak Totem, as the 9-5 favorite in the Aspidistra. In her previous start, Formal Miss was beaten a head following an eventful trip in the Georgia Peaches Stakes. A multiple-stakes-winning daughter of Formal Dinner, Formal Miss won the Liberada Handicap earlier in the meet.

Teak Totem came out of the allowance ranks to register a surprising wire-to-wire victory over Iowa's Image in the Aspidistra, earning a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 89 for a three-length win. Teak Totem returned to the main track and finished far back in her most recent start, the Emergency Nurse Stakes on Sept. 19.

* Built Up, second behind Tour of the Cat in the Sumter Stakes on Sept. 26, worked five furlongs in 1:01.40 here Friday. The multiple-stakes-winning sprinter could make his next start in the Grade 3 Spend a Buck Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on Oct. 23.