07/20/2006 11:00PM

By default, American Miss

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Jim Lisa
Although American Miss is 0 for 4 this season, she may still be favored in the Nancy's Glitter.

MIAMI - Opportunities in the handicap division for fillies and mares going two turns on dirt are few and far between in south Florida during the summer and fall. That makes it all the more surprising that just six horses signed on for Sunday's $80,000 Nancy's Glitter Handicap, one of only two route races over the main track on the stakes schedule for the division through the end of the Calder meet on Oct. 16.

The filly and mare handicap ranks are weak to begin with this year, with the best of the group, Prospective Saint, having finished second last weekend in the Grade 1 Princess Rooney Handicap. Her absence, along with that of stablemate Mocita, leaves the 1 1/16-mile Nancy's Glitter a wide-open affair, with defending champion American Miss the 118-pound highweight and most likely favorite despite the fact she's winless in four starts in 2006.

registered one of the more improbable victories in local stakes history when she outgamed 1-9 favorite Pampered Princess through the stretch to register a 1 1/2-length decision in the 2005 Nancy's Glitter. The win was one of four on the year for American Miss, who also captured the Sambacarioca Stakes and Elmer Heubeck Distaff Handicap while banking in excess of $225,000.

American Miss has registered a pair of thirds, both in stakes, from four starts this season and will be returning home after chasing the nationally ranked Fleet Indian before fading to finish fifth in Delaware Park's Obeah Handicap. American Miss is trained by Cecil Paul and will be ridden by Elvis Trujillo.

and Gran Beirut are the only members of the Nancy's Glitter field to have won during the opening half of 2006. Red Ruffle drew off to a 9 1/4-length allowance win over a wet track on May 16 and most recently finished third behind Mocita in the Ms Brookski Stakes. Gran Beirut began her career in Puerto Rico, but made a successful transition to U.S. racing when she captured an entry-level allowance race going a mile on June 24.

Like Red Ruffle, is also fond of a wet track, having posted a last-to-first three-quarter-length victory on such a surface in the 2005 Calder Oaks, but she is winless in four subsequent starts, each of which have come on the turf.

Leona's Knight finished a tiring fourth, four lengths behind Red Ruffle, in the Ms Brookski and has not won a race in 27 tries during 2005 and 2006.

Wild Wedding, another filly who has kept almost exclusively to the turf this year, rounds out the lineup.

Unlike the Nancy's Glitter, a full field of 14 3-year-old fillies was entered for the $50,000 Gene's Big Sky Stakes, which is carded at five furlongs on turf but more likely destined to be decided over the main track due to recent heavy rains.

Running Lass, third behind division leader Frolicing in the Swept Away Stakes, is the one to catch over either surface. Other contenders include Imelda Oh, No Hear Say, and the improving Psalms of Praise.