06/18/2003 11:00PM

Devon Rose on winning roll

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Devon Rose seeks her fourth staight win and a shot at the big time in the $100,000 Obeah Handicap for fillies and mares on Saturday at Delaware Park. Nine were entered.

After racing last fall and this winter strictly on the turf, Devon Rose switched to the dirt March 13 at Gulfstream Park and suddenly caught fire. She won a two-other-than allowance that day, then went on to win her next two starts, at Delaware - a $50,000 optional claimer on May 3 and the $58,000 Summer King Stakes on June 2.

In each of her last three starts, Devon Rose earned a Beyer Speed Figure higher than the start before - climbing from a 77 on turf at Gulfstream in February to 89, 94, and 97 in her last three on dirt.

A victory in the Obeah might send Devon Rose on to the Grade 2, $750,000 Delaware Handicap July 20.

"I would think she would have to win or at least run a big second," said Allen Iwinski, who trains Devon Rose for owner Richard Englander. "It's up to Rick. She is going to have to step up and run as good as she has been running or even better, I would think."

Actually, Devon Rose will have to run as good as she has been running or better just to win on Saturday. Three others look good enough to beat her - Shiny Sheet, Pass the Virtue, and Alternate.

Alternate steps up from the optional claiming ranks. But she has the back class of a second in the Grade 2 Monmouth Breeders' Cup Oaks last year, and her last start was a 7 1/2-length romp.

Pass the Virtue won a $175,000 race at Delaware last year, the Susan's Girl. She is trained by Leslie Glazier, who has won three of six stakes starts in the last 18 months.

Shiny Sheet owns the only triple-digit Beyer in the field, a 100 in a restricted stakes at Timonium last August.

Lady Liberty belongs in the mix, too, if trainer Shug McGaughey opts to ship her down from New York for the race.