05/27/2004 11:00PM

Fawkes eyes bigger prize


MIAMI - The purse for the Sugar N Spice Stakes is only $40,000, but it's the race trainer David Fawkes has planned next that he will be thinking about when he sends Holy Bubbette in Sunday's six-furlong main event.

That next race is the $500,000 Princess Rooney Handicap, a Grade 2 event that shares top billing with the $500,000 Smile Sprint Handicap on the Summit of Speed program here July 10.

"If all goes well, the Princess Rooney is the one we're really pointing her for," said Fawkes, who trains Holy Bubbette for owner Katherine Elam.

Holy Bubbette will carry high weight of 122 pounds in the Sugar N Spice, which will be decided under allowance conditions. She earns that impost off a pair of impressive gate-to-wire victories earlier this season, including a 2 3/4-length triumph in Woodbine's Whimsical Stakes on April 18.

"We thought about sending her back to Woodbine for the next one up there," said Fawkes, referring to the $150,000 Hendrie Handicap on May 16. "But the ship to and from Canada knocked a little out of her, so we decided just to keep her here and get here ready for the Princess Rooney."

Fawkes took over the training of Holy Bubbette shortly after her second-place finish behind Barbara O'Brien in the Grade 3 Chaposa Springs Handicap here Dec. 13. Holy Bubbette broke slowly in that seven-furlong race and had to fight from mid-pack to get up for second.

"She's at her best either on or just off the lead, and I thought Jerry [Bailey] did a hell of a job to get her up for second that day," said Fawkes. "We discovered a little problem with her blood work after her poor effort in The First Lady at Gulfstream Park, which is why I gave her a little time off to get that straightened out. But she's doing great now."

While Holy Bubbette is certain to go off the solid favorite in the Sugar N Spice, even Fawkes is not taking victory for granted.

"This is a pretty competitive race, but I expect her to run well," said Fawkes. "She doesn't have to be on the lead to win, but if she breaks well she won't be sitting around waiting for anybody."

Phil Teator will be aboard Holy Bubbette for the first time Sunday.

Mary Murphy and Vision in Flight should give Holy Bubbette her stiffest challenges.

Mary Murphy is at her best over the local strip, as she proved with a 3 1/4-length victory over Whenthedoveflies in the Goldarama Stakes here May 2. Whenthedoveflies flattered that performance by returning to set a five-furlong turf course record last weekend. Mary Murphy has won 4 of her 7 starts at Calder.

Vision in Flight finished second by a nose to the odds-on favorite Gold Mover in the 2003 Princess Rooney and will likely earn a return trip to that race with a good effort Sunday. She has not started since winning the restricted Florida Thoroughbred Charity Stakes in Ocala on March 15. Vision in Flight has finished first or second in 8 of 9 starts at Calder, her home course.

Crafty Brat, Splasha, and Honeymooner complete the lineup.

* Eddie Castro and defending champ Bill White continue atop the jockey and trainer standings after the first month of the current session. Castro held a 25-18 lead in wins over Gary Boulanger in the race for the jockey title. In the trainers' race, White had 11 winners, two more than Eddie Plesa Jr. heading into Friday's program.