05/02/2007 11:00PM

Edge to ‘Escort’ despite post¶


The way Evening Escort won the Treasure Town Stakes on the Turf Paradise grass last month it might appear that nothing could stop her from winning Saturday’s $45,000 Desert Sky Handicap. But circumstances might have gone against Evening Escort, as she drew the outside post in a field of 12 fillies and mares for the about one-mile turf race.

Saturday’s card is the next-to-last program of the meet, which ends Sunday.

Owned by Jim and Mike Hill and trained by Jim Hill, Evening Escort powered home to win the Treasure Town by 2 1/4 lengths, and a repeat of that effort would be good enough to win on Saturday even from her tough post.

Last fall, Evening Escort won a downhill turf sprint at Santa Anita. Her form tailed off earlier this year, and Hill claimed her out of a one-mile dirt race on Feb. 9. She won her first start for him, the Valid Leader Stakes, a main-track sprint at Turf Paradise on Feb. 25. She ran fifth in the Kathryn Doll on the turf March 9, but rebounded nicely next out in the Treasure Town. Adolfo Morales will ride Evening Escort.

Sweet Ambition has yet to win in eight turf tries, all in Southern California, but she has run well on grass. She comes in off a three-length win the Cactus Flower on April 21 at Turf Paradise – a sprint on the main track – but she certainly fits well here. Wilson Dieguez rides.

Perhaps the most intriguing entrant is Star of Whitney, a 4-year-old who began her career in the East. She was off for more than 14 months, then resurfaced in a dirt sprint at Turf Paradise on Feb. 27, finishing sixth. Then, she ran on turf for the first time and beat allowance foes by 5 1/2 lengths going a mile on this course March 17. She came back to beat tougher optional claimers by three-quarters of a length, again at a mile, on April 14. Sandi Gann rides.