05/19/2004 11:00PM

An excellent Adventure may lead to Oaks


Although there's a huge difference between a first-level allowance and a $500,000 stakes, it's not too soon for trainer Graham Motion to consider an ambitious long-range target for his 3-year-old filly Adventure.

The 1 1/16-mile Delaware Oaks on July 17 could be on Adventure's agenda after she scored her second consecutive victory last Saturday at Delaware Park. Facing winners for the first time since winning her maiden in a nine-furlong race at Keeneland last month, Adventure earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 83 in the two-turn allowance.

"She is a gritty little filly," Motion said. "She just toughs it out. I was really impressed with her."

Although the next local prep for the $500,000 Delaware Oaks is the $100,000 Go for Wand on May 29, Motion said he prefers to wait for the $175,000 Susan's Girl Breeders' Cup, a 1 1/16-mile race on June 19, for Adventure's stakes debut.

"She is a filly that needs time in between her races and I definitely will not run her back in two weeks," Motion said. "So the Susan's Girl is the next logical thing to do with her. We will see how she goes in there with the Delaware Oaks in mind for later."

Another of Motion's young prospects, the 3-year-old Maryland-bred P. Kerney, finished seventh in the $100,000 Sir Barton Stakes on the Preakness undercard. Motion said he was initially disappointed, but took some consolation in what jockey Edgar Prado had to say about P. Kerney's performance in his first try in a stakes.

"Edgar felt he did not get a good trip at all," Motion said. "He told me that he really did not get to turn his head loose until the last eighth of a mile, and by then it was kind of too late. It is a shame to waste a race, but from what Edgar tells me, at least he is a good enough horse to run in those kind of races."

Motion is not sure where he may run P. Kerney next, but said he is leaning toward a two-turn allowance.

Handicap prospects in Summer King

Two possible candidates for the $750,000 Delaware Handicap, one a proven stakes winner who is improving with age and the other an unbeaten 4-year-old filly making her first stakes appearance, will clash in Saturday's $50,000 Summer King Stakes at 1 1/16 miles.

Misty Sixes, a 6-year-old mare who won two stakes last season, and Maryland-based Gelli, undefeated in five lifetime starts, face four other older fillies and mares in the $50,000 Summer King. The race may produce starters for the $100,000 Obeah Handicap, a 1 1/8-mile race June 19. The Obeah is the last local prep for the July 18 Delaware Handicap at 1 1/4 miles.

Misty Sixes, claimed for $40,000 in November 2002, returned from a five-month layoff on May 1 to win a one-mile allowance race easily, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 96.

Gelli tries tougher competition after beating high-priced optional claimers at Pimlico in her most recent start, a victory that was worth a career-best Beyer Figure of 89.

"We have been taking her one step at a time, and this race is stepping-stone to the Obeah. If she passes each of those tests, then hopefully the Delaware Handicap," trainer Charles Hadry Jr. said.

The field also includes Banished Lover, a 6-year-old mare who has won her last four races by a combined margin of more than 35 lengths at Mountaineer. A $5,000 claim at Delaware last season, Banished Lover takes a steep class rise, but recent Beyer Figures of 91 and 98 indicate she fits well here.