11/08/2001 12:00AM

Chicago Six star of four-stakes day

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Chicago Six, the reformed claimer who turned into a graded stakes winner this year, will seek his second consecutive win in the $75,000 Illinois Coronet Handicap at Hawthorne on Saturday. The race, at 1 1/16 miles, is the highlight of a card that features four stakes exclusively for Illinois-breds.

Chicago Six was a dominating five-length winner of the 2000 Illinois Coronet and figures to be a heavy favorite to do the same on Saturday. Trainer Jere Smith Sr. tested him in open stakes company earlier this year and walked away with victories in the Sportsman's Breeders' Cup and the Grade 3 National Jockey Club Handicap. Among his victims in the National Jockey Club was Guided Tour, eventual winner of the Stephen Foster at Churchill and most recently fifth in the Breeders' Cup Classic.

The second half of the 2001 season has not been as fruitful for the 6-year-old Chicago Six. He has managed only one win in his last five starts, that coming in the Prairie Meadows Handicap on Oct. 3. The fact that he was unplaced in the other four won't deter his supporters as three were in graded stakes and one was on the turf, not his preferred surface.

Chicago Six wouldn't be the first horse to repeat in the Illinois Coronet. In its 26 previous runnings, the race has produced four multiple winners, including Bar Ja and Harham's Sizzler, who scored in consecutive years.

Jockey Alfredo Juarez, who injured a knee in a gate mishap at Hawthorne last week, is back riding and retains the mount on Chicago Six.

The one thing that could make Chicago Six vulnerable is the weight spread. He carries 126 pounds and will concede at least 11 pounds to each of his rivals.

San Pedro, the second highweight in the field, could offer the biggest challenge. An improving 3-year-old from the barn of Spanky Broussard, San Pedro won two of his first three career starts in New Orleans last winter, including the restricted Fair Grounds Sales Derby. San Pedro also scored twice in overnight company at Arlinton this summer.

His two disappointing efforts in recent months have come against much stronger company. He finished sixth in both the Grade 3 Round Table and the rich Indiana Derby. The Coronet will be San Pedro's first race against Illinois-breds.

Mister Volare, second to Chicago Six in the 2000 Coronet, is another possible upsetter. The Coronet field is completed by Not Happening, Grandpa Two, and Butterscotch Dave, all of whom have been more successful on turf.

In other stakes action Saturday:

* The second best race on the card might be the $75,000 Lightning Jet Stakes at six furlongs. Magic Doe, winner of the 2000 Lightning Jet, faces a difficult task of repeating as he faces Star Chief and Tic N Tin. Star Chief, a dual winner at Del Mar this summer, makes his first start outside Southern California for trainer Bob Hess Jr. Tic N Tin lost a photo to Bet on Sunshine in the Arlington Sprint in August.

* Sniffy, a multiple winner at the Keeneland fall meet, makes her stakes debut for trainer Dale Romans in the $75,000 Powerless Stakes for fillies and mares at six furlongs. Last year's Powerless runner-up Lil Bobbie Too, along with the veteran mares Faccia Bella and Come September, pose the main threats.

* A wide-open running of the $75,000 Illinois Princess Handicap for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles includes stakes performers Falasha, Something Wicked, and Magic Motel, and the allowance competitor Cozy.

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