05/21/2008 11:00PM

Come Fly Away looking in peak form


New York-based filly Come Fly Away responded to her first drop into Maryland-bred company and a stretch out in distance by delivering the best Beyer Speed Figure of her 14-race career in last month's Geisha Stakes at Pimlico.

Third in the 1 1/16-mile Geisha after running close to a quick pace, Come Fly Away will stick to the same distance and face several of the statebreds she already beat in Saturday's $50,000 Shine Again at Pimlico.

A 4-year-old based at Belmont with trainer Mike Hushion, Come Fly Away has made her last four starts in Maryland, winning a pair of sprints at Laurel.

Last time out, she was asked to stretch from seven furlongs to 1 1/16 miles, and six furlongs into the race she wound up going head to head with Spectacular Malibu, the eventual runner-up to Lexi Star. Lexi Star came back to finish second in last weekend's Grade 2 Allaire duPont, and Spectacular Malibu returned to win an allowance at Belmont.

The fractions in the Geisha - 47.97 seconds for a half-mile and 1:11.87 for the first six furlongs - were nearly identical to the 47.78 and 1:11.70 fractions posted by older males two races later in the $75,000 Jim McKay, an open stakes, which means those Maryland-bred fillies and mares were moving quickly.

Considering that Come Fly Away held on well to lose by only a length while recording a Beyer Figure of 88, finishing ahead of three opponents she will face again in Saturday's seven-horse field, her effort looks pretty good.

The question is whether she can move forward on the Beyer scale for the fifth straight time or if she is due to regress. Given five weeks to recover from her last start, it seems less likely she will bounce.

Come Fly Away's most dangerous rival appears to be Real Property, who has been no worse than second in 7 of 9 starts in dirt routes.

Like Come Fly Away, Real Property will be facing Maryland-breds for only the second time. She faded to fifth in the Geisha, but she may benefit from a rider switch to Jeremy Rose. In her last six starts with Rose riding, Real Property has 5 wins and 1 second.