11/04/2004 12:00AM

Delaware: 'Max' meets easier bunch

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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.