11/04/2004 12:00AM

Delaware: 'Max' meets easier bunch


After chasing the likes of Ghostzapper, Midas Eyes, and Balto Star in his last four starts against graded stakes company, Unforgettable Max meets much softer competition in the $50,000 Shecky Greene, a 1 1/16-mile overnight stakes at Delaware Park.

Although he's 0 for 8 this season, the 4-year-old Unforgettable Max has posted Beyers ranging from 102 to 108 in five of his last six starts. During that span, Unforgettable Max finished third in a four-horse field, beaten 7 3/4 lengths by Ghostzapper in the Grade 2 Tom Fool.

Private Lap and Distinct Vision, a pair of horses for the course who finished one-two in last year's Shecky Greene, are back again.

The 5-year-old Private Lap has been first or second in 11 of his 12 lifetime starts at Delaware, including two stakes victories this season. A distinct front-runner who is likely to face pressure from Granite Head and Distinct Vision, Private Lap must concede seven pounds to Unforgettable Max as the 122-pound highweight.

Distinct Vision, beaten 1 1/2 lengths by Private Lap in the 2003 Shecky Greene, has flashed speed and faded in each of his last three starts. His lone win this season came against $75,000 claimers in August.

Another sharp runner who could contend is the 7-year-old Spicy Stuff, who has been first or second in 3 of 4 starts since he was brought to the East Coast from Southern California. Last time out, Spicy Stuff made what looked like a winning move in the 1 3/16-mile Kelso Handicap, only to be run down late. He should appreciate the shorter distance of the Shecky Greene.