06/14/2007 12:00AM

Forever Together trying route


Forever Together, already a Grade 2 stakes winner and a neck shy of being 4 for 4 in her career, will attempt to stretch out beyond seven furlongs for the first time Saturday in the $175,000 Susan's Girl Stakes at Delaware Park.

The nine 3-year-old fillies in the 1 1/16-mile Susan's Girl will be prepping for the Grade 2, $500,000 Delaware Oaks on July 14.

Saturday's card also features the $100,000 Obeah Handicap, the local prep for the Grade 2, $1 million Delaware Handicap on July 15.

Forever Together has been off for two months after a productive early-season campaign in which she won a six-furlong restricted stakes at the Ocala Training Center in Florida and the Grade 2 Forward Gal at Gulfstream Park. Most recently, she finished a neck behind Street Sounds in the Grade 2 Beaumont at Keeneland.

Trainer Jonathan Sheppard said he wants to find out whether Forever Together, a daughter of Belong to Me, can handle a two-turn route or should stick to sprinting.

"We want to find out because there are probably more opportunities for her going two turns," Sheppard said. "Of course, I have got my eye on the Delaware Oaks if she runs well here. That was the idea, to take a trial run to see if the Oaks would be a reasonable goal for her. We can always go back to seven-eighths if we need to."

Although Forever Together is coming off her first career loss, Sheppard said he feels the Beaumont may have been her most impressive race.

"She is normally very fast out of the gate, and she did not break that sharply," Sheppard said. "She got a little further back than usual. I do not know if it was the Polytrack or what, but she did not seem to be running, showing her usual speed during the first part. Actually, considering all of that, I thought she stayed on very gamely. She showed a lot of heart and almost got there."

Forever Together's competition in the Susan's Girl includes Winning Point, coming off back-to-back second-place finishes in Grade 2 stakes and Autobahn Girl, a Nick Zito-trained filly who exits what has turned out to be an extremely productive key race, the Kentucky Oaks.

In addition to Oaks winner Rags to Riches, who defeated males in last weekend's Belmont Stakes, four other fillies have come back to win their next start. That group consists of sixth-place Dreaming of Anna, who won an overnight turf stakes at Arlington; seventh-place Tough Tiz's Sis, winner of last weekend's Grade 2 Hollywood Oaks; ninth-place Cotton Blossom, winner of the Grade 1 Acorn at Belmont Park; and 12th-place Sealy Hill, winner of the Woodbine Oaks.

Autobahn Girl was in the midst of those next-out winners, finishing eighth in the Kentucky Oaks following some bumping at the start and a wide trip.

Obeah: Lexi Star takes a drop

The Maryland-based Lexi Star, who is 3 for 3 at Delaware and gets significant class relief after facing Grade 2 runners last time out, merits a slight edge in a wide-open field of 14 older females in the 1 1/8-mile Obeah.

Others with good credentials include Amandatude and Gasia, the second- and third-place finishers from last year's Delaware Oaks; Dance Away Capote, back in the good form after she was limited to just one start in 2006; It's True Love, winner of her last two starts; and the Todd Pletcher-trained Unbridled Belle, who makes her 2007 debut after running in three consecutive Grade 1 races to close out her 3-year-old campaign. She boasts a 2-for-2 record at Delaware.

Promenade Girl probably would be favored if she runs here, but she is cross-entered in Saturday's Grade 1 Ogden Phipps at Belmont.