01/10/2009 12:00AM

Distance might not suit Sherine


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - For a New York-bred overnight stakes, Sunday's $65,000 Soft Morning at Aqueduct came up extremely tough. Among the seven fillies and mares in the field are a Grade 2 winner and two horses who have combined to finish first or second in 20 of 22 starts.

The Soft Morning, contested at six furlongs, marks the return to the races of Sherine, who last April won the Grade 2 Comely Stakes over Aqueduct's main track. She was 13-1 that day, in large part because in her previous start Sherine had finished last as the even-money favorite in the Dearly Precious over the inner track.

Sherine has been away from the races since finishing fifth in the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico on May 16. Sherine, who was purchased privately by Michael Dubb and Stuart Grant from Zayat Stables, has been working steadily since November, but her trainer, Tony Dutrow, doesn't expect her to be at her best going six furlongs.

"We don't think Sherine is at her best sprinting, so this is her first start back, she's fresh, she's ready, she's doing excellent," Dutrow said. "But this gets her going. After this we will start the long races."

While Sherine may be better going longer, Cammy's Choice and By the Light are superb six-furlong horses. Cammy's Choice, a 5-year-old daughter of Take Me Out, has won her last three at six furlongs, a streak that began 13 months ago with a second-level New York-bred allowance win over a sloppy inner track.

She has raced just twice this year, winning a third-level allowance race at Philadelphia Park on Oct. 28 and then taking the Cornucopia Stakes in the mud at Philly on Nov. 25. Cammy's Choice is drawn on the rail, though the pace scenario is more of a concern than the draw to Ed Lehman, the trainer of Cammy's Choice.

"She loves to come from off it," Lehman said. "I wish there was more speed in there, really."

Actually, there may be enough speed for Cammy's Choice. Sherine has speed, as do By the Light and Megadeed, who makes her first start off the claim for David Dugan.

By the Light, trained by Richard Dutrow Jr., is 7 for 11 lifetime, with four of those wins at six furlongs. She is 5 for 6 against New York-breds.

Completing the field are Silvercup Baby, who has a win and two seconds over the inner track, Laurentide Ice, and Lets Fly Away.