05/30/2001 11:00PM

Bargain Xtra Heat faces high-ticket gals


OCEANPORT, N.J. - The contenders in Saturday's $50,000 Little Silver Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at six furlongs are a study in differing 2-year-old sale prices.

Harmony Lodge was purchased by Eugene and Laura Melnyk for $1.65 million at the 2000 Fasig-Tipton February sale. Erin Moor was bought for $250,000 out of the same sale by Caesar Kimmel and Philip Solondz. And Xtra Heat, the favorite for the Little Silver, was purchased by Kenneth Taylor for a mere $5,000 at a Timonium spring sale.

Xtra Heat is a two-time Grade 2 winner, having won the Astarita last fall at Belmont and the Beaumont at Keeneland two starts back. Xtra Heat had won six straight races before losing by a nose in her last effort, the Grade 2 Nassau County at Belmont May 9.

Trained by John Salzman, Xtra Heat has 12 wins in 14 starts, and she has been on or near the lead in all her races. Rick Wilson will probably gun her for the lead from the outside post, but Xtra Heat will have to deal with two other speedballs - Harmony Lodge and Kidsarefun, who was bought for $90,000 at the same Timonium sale as Xtra Heat.

Harmony Lodge, trained by Todd Pletcher, has been the favorite in all three of her starts, which resulted in two wins and a third. She won her maiden first time out at Saratoga in August, recording a 96 Beyer Figure, and she won her last race easily, a $62,500 optional claiming race at Woodbine May 12.

Harmony Lodge is cross-entered in Sunday's $40,000 Arctic Cloud at Pimlico. Harmony Lodge will break from the inside post at 116 pounds under Eibar Coa.

"We've always been very high on her," said Pletcher. "If everything goes well, she'll be pointed for the Prioress at Belmont and then the Test [July 28] at Saratoga."

Trained by John Kimmel, Erin Moor will make her first start since April 13, when she finished fifth in the Grade 3 Comely at Aqueduct. She has a record of 2-2-1 from 10 starts, with perhaps her biggest effort a second-place finish to Xtra Heat in the Grade 3 Cicada two starts back. Erin Moor will break from post 4 with Chris DeCarlo aboard.

o Saturday's third race, a six-furlong $50,000 money allowance for 3-year-olds and up, drew a strong field of six horses, with Personal First and Oro de Mexico the two standouts. Personal First, trained by David Paulus, won the Grade 3 Amsterdam at Saratoga last summer, defeating top-notch sprinters Disco Rico and Trippi. Oro de Mexico is a 7-year-old trained by Phil Serpe.

o Saturday's undercard stakes is the $50,000 Wolf Hill Stakes, a five-furlong turf sprint for 3-year-olds and up. Special Occasion, a 7-year-old trained by Eddie Broome, has a big shot in the Wolf Hill. Special Occasion is a multiple stakes winner on the Monmouth grass, and at one time he held the five-furlong track record on turf.