07/07/2004 11:00PM

Fairmount: Invader in deep


COLLINSVILLE, Ill. - Asked last weekend to explain why classy out-of-town shippers often see 30-plus points lopped off their Beyer Speed Figure, when they race on Fairmount Park's dirt surface, top jockey Ramsey Zimmerman replied simply, "It's deep."

Indeed, this depth of dirt is what will make favorite Sarah Jade's task particularly difficult in Saturday's $30,000 Safely Kept Handicap, a six-furlong race for fillies and mares.

It's not that Sarah Jade isn't in good form. She is, having won a Mountaineer allowance in her last start and earning a Beyer of 88. Trained by Douglas Johnson, she has raced at a different racetrack in her last six starts, and with earnings of $206,156 has more purse money than any other horse in the field.

But wallet size is a poor predictor at Fairmount, particularly when Logan's Girl looks set to fire. A 6-year-old trained by Ralph Martinez, Logan's Girl has never finished out of the money in seven races at Fairmount. She won four straight on this track last summer, and is coming off a victory in her last race June 22.

Also not to be underestimated is 5-year-old Run Willa Run of track owner William Stiritz's Wildwood Stables.