06/17/2004 11:00PM

Filly taking on males at Finger Lakes


Fillies don't beat colts in stakes races very often. If there is anybody who can help a filly get the job done at Finger Lakes, however, it's jockey John Grabowski.

Sunday, Grabowski will try to win the six-furlong Ontario County Handicap for the fifth straight year aboard So Sweet a Cat, the lone filly in a field of nine New York-bred 3-year-old sprinters.

So Sweet a Cat, who has been first or second in 6 of 7 lifetime starts for trainer Ralph D'Alessandro, is already accustomed to challenging males in restricted stakes. As a 2-year-old, she missed by a neck in the Finger Lakes Juvenile and finished second, beaten less than two lengths, in the New York Breeders' Futurity.

In her lone start this season, So Sweet a Cat came from seventh to draw off to a 4 1/4-length victory over older horses in an allowance race on Memorial Day.

Grabowski, who won last year's Ontario County with Strausberg, will be riding So Sweet a Cat for the first time.

The probable favorite in the Ontario County is Mysweethearts Gone, a gelding who is 3 for 3 at Finger Lakes, all at distances shorter or longer than six furlongs. Mysweethearts Gone, claimed in April by trainer Michael Lecesse for $25,000, has easily won his first two starts for his new connections. Although both races were at a mile and 70 yards, he was well in front after six furlongs and the distance switch may not bother him.

The best last-race Beyer Speed Figure in the field belongs to H.M.S. Majestic, who earned an 80 for his eight-length win against nonwinners-of-three-lifetime allowance sprinters.

* The Scott Lake-trained Cologny goes for her fourth win in a row in the co-feature on Sunday's program, the $50,000 Arctic Queen Handicap for New York-bred fillies and mares.

The 4-year-old Cologny, claimed for $25,000 in February, has not been worse than second in five starts for Lake. She shipped in from downstate New York to score a half-length victory in the Susan B. Anthony Handicap on Memorial Day.

Travelator and Serenity's Smile, who finished second and third behind Cologny in the Susan B. Anthony, are back to try again.

The Stan Hough-trained Travelator, who won a statebred stakes at Belmont last season, should be tighter for this start, her second off a long layoff.

Serenity's Smile, who flashed good early speed against high-priced optional claimers at Gulfstream Park last winter, is 6 for 12 lifetime at Finger Lakes, including a wire-to-wire romp sprinting two starts ago.

A Smart Punch, a locally-based 5-year-old mare, is an intriguing possibility making her stakes debut. She has won 6 of 7 lifetime, all sprints at Finger Lakes. In the last five of those wins, A Smart Punch has been in front at every call.

Colonial: Mystery on turf

Nine 3-year-old fillies, all of whom are either unproven or unraced on turf, have a shot to become a stakes winner on grass in the $50,000 Oakley at Colonial Downs. The 1 1/16-mile race is restricted to registered Virginia-bred or Virginia-sired horses.

Courtly Love, a maiden shipping in from New York, and Cobbley's Jewel, whose only win came in a maiden claiming dirt sprint, have the best form of those who have run on grass previously.

Courtly Love finished ahead of six of nine opponents she faced over a yielding surface at Belmont on May 20. Her Beyer Figure of 74 looks good in this field.

Cobbley's Jewel was fourth of 10, passing five horses and gaining 6 1/2 lengths, in the last quarter-mile of a first-level allowance race at Pimlico in her only grass start. That effort was worth a Beyer of 66. She is a full sister to Cobbley's Promise, who finished second, beaten only a head, in a 1 1/16-mile turf stakes at Colonial in 2001.

After the Tone, trained by Mark Hennig, easily defeated Courtly Love three starts ago in a one-mile race moved from the turf to Aqueduct's main track. As a first-time starter last summer, she finished sixth in a six-furlong maiden race with a Beyer of 66.

River Downs: No title defense

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, but in the case of the Sydney Gendelman Handicap at River Downs, the absence of reigning Ohio horse of the year Devil Time is welcome relief for the rest of the Ohio-bred fraternity.

With Devil Time passing on a title defense in the $45,000 Gendelman, scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on turf, favoritism may go, surprisingly, to one of Ohio's best sprinters, Ben's Reflection.

A winner in 6 of 10 starts, including two stakes, Ben's Reflection will be stretching out for only the third time. His first attempt resulted in his only unplaced effort, but in his second try he finished second in the nine-furlong Cleveland Gold Cup.

A switch from the turf to the main track, a frequent occurrence at River in recent weeks, cannot be ruled out. Brent's Challenger and Brent's Victory, nominally dirt performers, have enjoyed success in their limited exposure to turf racing and figure regardless of surface.- Vance Hanson