09/05/2008 12:00AM

Graeme Six a worthy favorite


Based strictly on Beyer Speed Figures earned in their lone start at Delaware Park, Sweet Hope's 106 for her three-length win in an overnight stakes sure looks a lot better than the 78 Graeme Six earned for her neck loss against maidens.

So why is Graeme Six the 5-2 favorite on the track's morning line and the 123-pound highweight for Saturday's Grade 3, $200,000 Endine, while Sweet Hope is no better than third choice at 5-1 and carrying only 117 pounds?

Simply put, Graeme Six is the most accomplished runner among nine fillies and mares going six furlongs in the eighth race feature, one of three six-figure stakes on Saturday's 13-race card.

The track is also offering a pair of $100,000 stakes restricted to horses who have made at least one start at the meet, the George Rosenberger Memorial for fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on turf and the Owners' Day Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on the main track.

In fairness to Graeme Six, her Beyer Figure of 78 at Delaware came in her career debut as a 2-year-old. Now 4, she's a much better horse.

Graeme Six already owns three stakes victories this year, including the Grade 3 Winning Colors at Churchill Downs in late May. She has run just once since then, finishing third of five in the Grade 2 Honorable Miss at Saratoga. Zada Belle, who finished a length ahead of Graeme Six that day, came back to win the $83,000 Bennington at Saratoga with a 99 Beyer on Aug. 20.

Sweet Hope may be on the rise, too. She steps up to face older horses for the first time after running second to the 2007 2-year-old champion filly, Indian Blessing, in the Grade 1 Test at Saratoga last time out.

Trainer Larry Jones said the time seems ripe to see how Sweet Hope stacks up against her elders.

"We are starting to get to the time of year when we have fewer options and you have to start looking at running her against older horses," Jones said. "We think and hope and she is ready to challenge older fillies and mares."

Three others who merit respect are Elope, who returned from a 10-month layoff to romp by nearly 12 lengths and earn a 100 Beyer facing first-level allowance horses at Saratoga; Cash's Girl, whose 3-for-3 record locally includes a game head victory in the $100,000 Sweet n Sassy two months ago; and Hungarian Boatbaby, whose only loss in her last five starts came against Cash's Girl.

Owners' Day: Solar Flare sharpest

Jones has a big shot to win the Owners' Day (race 10) with Solar Flare, an Argentine import who gained eligibility for this race when he won his North American debut with a 100 Beyer in a third-level optional $50,000 claimer three months ago.

Since then, Solar Flare was a close second in the Grade 1 Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park and a distant seventh in the Grade 1 Whitney Handicap at Saratoga.

According to Jones, Solar Flare had a good excuse for his subpar performance in the July 26 Whitney.

"He sprained an ankle in that race, but we think he should be ready to go in the race this Saturday," Jones said. "We worked him the other day and he just did fine, so he is ready."

If all goes well, Jones may take Solar Flare to Suffolk Downs for the Massachusetts Handicap on Sept. 20.

Solar Flare's 10 opponents include Mister Triester, coming off a career-best 106 Beyer in his lone start locally, and two horses whose chances would improve if the track turns up wet, Coyoteshighestcall and Termsof-engagement. Coyoteshighestcall has been first or second in 6 of 8 starts over wet tracks. Termsofengagement has won the last two times he caught a muddy track.

Rosenberger: Footing the key

A forecast that calls for rain could mean the Rosenberger (race 9) will be contested on soft turf or shifted to the main track.

The morning-line favorite Marie Rossa, who won her maiden on soft ground in France, and Sugar Baby Love, beaten a half-length over soft turf in a Group 2 stakes in Germany, are dangerous if the race is held on less-than-firm footing.

Pyramist, the lone horse entered for the main track only, and Tens Holy Spirit, no worse than second in 4 of 5 races over wet surfaces, would be dangerous if the race gets moved to dirt and conditions are muddy or sloppy.