07/28/2004 11:00PM

Few spots for Misty Sixes

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Trainer Steve Klesaris is searching for a graded stakes restricted to fillies and mares. Preferably, the race will be contested at a distance between a mile and 1 1/4 miles - and run over a dry main track.

Though Klesaris hasn't specified the level of competition, a Grade 3 would be a better fit than a Grade 1.

But there's very little that fits the description for the next couple of months, not only at Delaware Park, but anyplace else on the East Coast.

So Klesaris may have to either take Misty Sixes on a long road trip or switch surfaces as he strives to make the 6-year-old mare a graded stakes winner before she retires.

"More than likely, this will be her last season of running," Klesaris said. "I would like to hopefully get a graded victory under her belt before she goes to the [breeding] shed. We have looked around and we will nominate to a couple of races, but nothing has been confirmed."

The best opportunities for Misty Sixes, who has won 9 of 22 starts with earnings of $404,394, might lie in Kentucky, a state where Klesaris doesn't ordinarily race. Ellis Park will run the premier race of its meet, the Grade 3 Gardenia at 1 1/8 miles, on Aug. 7. There's another Grade 3 race, the Turfway Breeders' Cup, a 1 1/16-mile event, at Turfway Park on Sept. 18.

Although she is more accomplished on dirt, Misty Sixes did win a minor turf stakes at Colonial Downs last year. Klesaris could return her to grass - or enter with the hope the race would be moved to the main track. The 1 1/8-mile Matchmaker at Monmouth on Aug. 8, the 1 1/16-mile Ballston Spa at Saratoga on Aug. 30, and the 1 3/8-mile Glens Falls at Saratoga on Sept. 5 are all Grade 3 grass races.

Yet another option would be to stay at Delaware and shorten up to six furlongs for the Grade 3 Endine on Sept. 11. Misty Sixes last sprinted in March 2003, when she won an allowance in New York.

Asking Misty Sixes to sprint, however, might be difficult since she most recently ran 1 1/4 miles in the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap. Her third-place finish was respectable; she doesn't relish a sloppy track.

"It really isn't her best footing," Klesaris said. "She is 0 for 8 on wet tracks. Her dry-track record is 8 for 12. It's just unfortunate in the biggest race of her career that it came up that way. But she came out of the race in good shape."

Gelli gets a rest as Shiny Sheet goes on

Two also-rans from the Delaware Handicap are headed in different directions.

Gelli, a 4-year-old filly who won her first five lifetime starts in Maryland before losing three in a row at Delaware, will be given an extended vacation of 60 to 90 days. "It would be good to give her some time off and bring her back in the fall," trainer Charles Hadry said. "We have to reevaluate her. She might be better going three-quarters or seven-eighths of a mile."

Hadry will look for an easier spot for the 6-year-old Shiny Sheet. She could make her next start in the Alma North, a 6 1/2-furlong race worth $50,000, scheduled for Sept. 4 at Timonium.

* Alternate, who won the Robert G. Dick Memorial Breeders' Cup on July 17, will make her next start in either the Grade 3, 1 1/8-mile Matchmaker at Monmouth Park on Aug. 8 or the Grade 3, 1 3/8-mile Glens Falls Handicap at Saratoga on Sept. 5, according to trainer Graham Motion. He said that the Glens Falls, at the same distance as the Dick, is more likely.

Happy Trails drops into allowance feature

There is no stakes racing this weekend at Delaware. But Saturday's feature, a third-level allowance turf route with a $35,000 claiming option, does have a horse coming off back-to-back victories in Grade 3 stakes.

Happy Trails, who won the Hill Prince at Belmont and the Jersey Derby at Monmouth when both races were taken off the turf, is entered for the main track only.

Of the runners who would benefit if the race remains on the turf, Change Course easily defeated two-other-than allowance runners last time out, while Tricky Pace and Western Fling both beat similar optional claiming company at Colonial Downs in their last start.