01/22/2009 12:00AM

Distance favors High Resolve


The time zone, track, surface, and post positions will differ when Lovely Isle and High Resolve meet in Round 2 of their budding rivalry in the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Sprint on Saturday at Gulfstream Park, but the most significant change might be the distance. Greg Gilchrist, who trains High Resolve, is hoping a turn back to six furlongs will work in favor of High Resolve, who finished second to Lovely Isle in the 6 1/2-furlong Kalookan Queen Handicap on the Pro-Ride at Santa Anita on Dec. 31.

"Her last two races were going seven furlongs, then 6 1/2," Gilchrist said Thursday morning from Gulfstream. "Now she's back to six, which should help us a lot. She showed a lot of courage in both races. Last time, she went head and head and then was run down late."

High Resolve faces a similar scenario on Saturday. Dearest Trickski, who dueled for the lead with High Resolve in the Kalookan Queen, has also made the cross-country trip to Florida. And Lovely Isle figures to get an ideal stalking trip. But the keen speed that High Resolve possesses should be accentuated on the Gulfstream dirt, whereas Dearest Trickski has had her best success on synthetic surfaces. High Resolve owns 6 wins in 7 starts on dirt.

Gilchrist, who is based at Golden Gate Fields, said: "It's been so long since she's run on dirt and since I've trained on dirt that when I walked up to a dirt track this week, it looked so different."

The rail draw, Gilchrist said, should not matter.

"She comes away from the gate well," he said. "We're just going to go with our strength."

Lovely Isle got a perfect trip after breaking from the rail in the Kalookan Queen, which was her second start since being injured at Saratoga in the summer.

"She fell down leaving the track one morning, went sliding on the cement, and it tore her whole side apart," said her trainer, Bobby Frankel. "I wasn't sure we'd be able to get her back to the races. But her last race, I thought it was about her best race so far.'

Lovely Isle has won four times in six starts on dirt.

Both High Resolve and Lovely Isle are among 10 Florida-breds entered in the 12-horse field.

Dearest Trickski has stopped badly in her last two starts and is facing a field with considerable early speed - including Peisinoe - reducing the chances of her repeating in a race she captured a year ago when it was run at Santa Anita.

There are only two California-breds in the race, but the comebacking Mistical Plan gives California a strong chance to win. Though idle since August, Mistical Plan has frequently shipped from her home state to race on dirt surfaces, most notably scoring an overpowering victory in Florida in the Princess Rooney Handicap at Calder last summer.

The late-running style she used to capture the Sunshine Millions Oaks at Santa Anita two years ago would serve her well here.