12/18/2003 1:00AM

Edgar goes for the Edgar


It is common for a racetrack to name a stakes in honor of an important horseman or personality who has done much to raise the profile of Thoroughbred racing. An example is the $100,000 Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity, Saturday's feature at Hawthorne, which honors the former Illinois governor, who was a major proponent of racing during his administration.

It is extremely rare, however, for the honoree to win the race named after him. But Edgar is seeking to make history when his Jake's Fever, a horse he co-bred and owns outright, starts in the 1 1/16 miles Futurity for Illinois-bred 2-year-old colts and geldings.

Though he's unlikely to be the favorite in the Futurity, Jake's Fever has performed well enough in three starts to suggest he has a legitimate chance. An easy winner of his maiden in his second start, Jake's Fever stretched out around two turns in an entry-level allowance Nov. 28, which served as a prep for several Futurity participants. Jake's Fever led until the final furlong and was beaten three-quarters of a length.

Sir Fidgity and Iron Rogue, the one-two finishers in that allowance, are back for the Futurity, which will be their third consecutive meeting. Sir Fidgity also finished ahead of Iron Rogue in their previous encounter, the Sun Power Stakes, where they finished second and third.

Sir Fidgity, a son of stamina-influence Captain Bodgit, seemed to appreciate the stretch to two turns last time and has made remarkable progress for trainer Tony Mitchell after bleeding in his debut last summer.

Iron Rogu bled in the Sun Power, but added Lasix for the rematch against Sir Fidgity, which he lost by neck. That performance suggests the gap between the two is narrowing.

Also in the Futurity mix is Jaguar Friend, an Illinois-bred 2-year-old who won the six-furlong Sun Power by a neck over Sir Fidgity. The win was the second in three starts for Jaguar Friend, who is trained by Bobby Springer. Jaguar Friend has not started since the Sun Power and has actually been stabled at Springer's barn at Fair Grounds in recent weeks.

Unlike the other major contenders, Jaguar Friend is untested around two turns. He has enough early speed to stay close to the early pace but will need to conserve energy for the final quarter-mile.