05/14/2008 12:00AM

Buy the Barrel heads Allaire duPont


BALTIMORE - The 133rd Preakness will cap off what is perennially the best program of the year in Maryland racing. Eight stakes, five of them graded, and one starter handicap also are on tap on a marathon Saturday program that begins at 10:30 a.m. Eastern.

The Preakness has been carded as the 12th of 13 races. In reverse order, this is a rundown of the other stakes:

* Grade 2, $150,000 Allaire duPont Distaff (race 11): Buy the Barrel, a romping winner of the Bayakoa at Oaklawn Park in her last start for trainer Larry Jones and jockey Gabriel Saez, probably will be favored when starting from post 8 in a field of nine fillies and mares. Other potential factors in the 1 1/16-mile DuPont include Altesse and Runway Rosie, the one-two finishers in a recent overnight stakes at Aqueduct, as well as four other horses coming off wins.

* Grade 2, $250,000 Dixie Stakes (race 10): Shakis, winner of the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch at Saratoga last summer, stands to benefit from his last race, the Grade 1 Maker's Mark Mile at Keeneland, where he was a decent sixth behind one of the world's premier turf milers, Kip Deville. Alan Garcia will be in from New York to ride Shakis, whose main challengers in the 1 1/8-mile turf race include Distorted Reality, Buffalo Man, and Stay Close.

* Grade 3, $100,000 Hirsch Jacobs Stakes (race 9): Force Freeze, once-beaten in four starts, ships in from Texas with some nice Beyer Speed Figures and could be a lukewarm favorite in a solid field of 3-year-old sprinters. Five of his rivals are entered off victories, including Silver Edition, a winner on the Kentucky Oaks undercard for trainer D. Wayne Lukas and jockey Edgar Prado.

* The $100,000 Old Mutual Turf Sprint (race 8): Pete's Wonder and Heros Reward may take their fair share of action in what shapes up as the deepest betting race on the card. More than half of the horses in the field of 14 field would seem to rate very good chances.

* The $100,000 Barbaro Stakes (race 7): Several 3-year-olds who tried and failed on the Triple Crown trail fit much better in this 1 1/16-mile race that honors the fallen 2006 Kentucky Derby winner. Spurrier and Roman Emperor, both unplaced in the Wood Memorial, and Red Sandy, well beaten in the Lexington Stakes, are among a field of seven.

* Grade 3, $100,000 Gallorette Handicap (race 6): Stormy West and Roshani, the second- and fourth-place finishers in a tough renewal of the Grade 2 Jenny Wiley last month at Keeneland, are the main contenders in this 1 1/16-mile turf race. A field of seven was entered.

* The $75,000 Skipat Stakes (race 5): The three fillies drawn to the outside - Akronism, Hold That Prospect, and Drama Lady - look like the ones to beat in this six-furlong race.

* The $35,000 Deputed Testamony (race 4): One of the bigger fields of the day matches 12 Maryland-breds (10 betting interests) in this 1 1/16-mile starter handicap.

* Grade 3, $100,000 Maryland Sprint Handicap (race 3): Cognac Kisses, with Jeremy Rose riding for Scott Lake, has rounded into form and should rank among the favorites, along with Suave Jazz and Starforaday. Post time for the lead-off stakes is 11:28 a.m.

The Saturday card starts with two allowance races, then ends with a 10-horse field of maiden special weight runners in the 13th and last race, which is at six furlongs.