07/09/2003 11:00PM

Familiar foes rematched in Rooney


MIAMI - Gold Mover and Harmony Lodge split a pair of stakes decisions over the winter at Gulfstream Park. Saturday, the pair will return to south Florida for the rubber match in their season series when they face six other fillies and mares in the $500,000 Princess Rooney Handicap at Calder.

The Grade 2 Princess Rooney, the co-feature with the Smile Handicap on the $1.75 million Summit of Speed program, will be decided at six furlongs.

Gold Mover won last year's Princess Rooney by a half-length over Xtra Heat. She was ridden in that race by Jerry Bailey, who will be aboard again Saturday.

Gold Mover was beaten three lengths by Harmony Lodge as the odds-on favorite in her 2003 debut in the Shirley Jones Handicap at Gulfstream on Feb. 14. But she rebounded five weeks later to post an easy 3 1/2-length win over Harmony Lodge in the Hurricane Bertie Stakes.

Gold Mover comes into the Princess Rooney off the same two races as last season, the Grade 1 Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs and Belmont's Grade 2 Vagrancy. She finished second behind Sightseek in the Humana Distaff and third to Shawklit Mint in the Vagrancy.

"She didn't particularly like the mud in the Vagrancy," said trainer Mark Hennig. "The fact she's handled Calder well is a big part of the equation, and while the competition is tough I'm just glad Xtra Heat won't be there this year."

Harmony Lodge has started twice since her last meeting with Gold Mover, finishing third in the Grade 2 Genuine Risk at Belmont before easily capturing the seven-furlong Sweet Briar Too Stakes at Woodbine.

"The turn back to six furlongs should be good for her," said trainer Todd Pletcher. "I think there is very little to choose between my filly and Gold Mover. A lot depends on how the race sets up."

Trainer Pat Reynolds hopes the Princess Rooney sets up the same way as the Vagrancy did for Shawklit Mint, who led from gate to wire to win her fourth race in a row.

"She is so sharp and so good right now she just broke running, and that soupy track was to her liking," said Reynolds. "She is very tractable and won't have to be in front to win. Just as long as she's not in a pocket and getting a lot of dirt kicked on her."

Slews Final Answer, already a two-time stakes winner at Calder, is coming off an easy win in Monmouth's West Long Branch Stakes. She would benefit from an early pace battle in the Princess Rooney.