07/01/2006 11:00PM

Finger Lakes: Female sprinters vie


Two fillies with proven stakes form at Finger Lakes will face stiff challenges from downstate shippers in a pair of $50,000 stakes for New York-bred fillies and mares on the holiday card at Finger Lakes.

Carlow returned from a five-month layoff to win the Susan B. Anthony Handicap, but she will need to run much faster than she did that day in order to beat the Mike Hushion-trained Sweet Sweet in the six-furlong Arctic Queen for older females.

Fly to Me, idle since winning the Finger Lakes Juvenile last October, will need to be at her best against the Belmont Park-based Doll Baby, trained by Bruce Levine, in the six-furlong Niagara for 3-year-old fillies.

Carlow won the Niagara and the New York Oaks as a 3-year-old last season. She rallied from far back to win the Susan B. Anthony by a half-length, overcoming an extremely wide trip.

Her 65 Beyer Speed Figure for that win, however, looks weak compared with the improving sequence of 83-85-89 that Sweet Sweet has compiled in her most three recent starts. Two of Sweet Sweet's good figures were earned in open company.

In the Niagara, first run in 1980, Fly to Me makes her 3-year-old debut off a series of sharp workouts that includes a five-furlong bullet in 59.80 from the gate.

Fly to Me will be hard-pressed to beat Doll Baby, who returns from a freshening of nearly two months. Doll Baby was sharp sprinting against allowance-caliber statebred runners at Aqueduct, winning back-to-back starts in March and April.