01/31/2008 1:00AM

'Haddie' just as good on dirt


OLDSMAR, Fla. - Turf dashes have been occupying most of Haddie Be Good's time over the past year or so, as the Silver Deputy mare has been knocking heads with some of the better female turf sprinters from Gulfstream Park to Saratoga. But on Saturday, Haddie Be Good will face a solid group of fillies and mares on dirt at Tampa Bay Downs in the $65,000 Manatee Stakes.

"Actually, I think she's equally as good on either surface," said her trainer, John Hennig, from his south Florida headquarters, "but there are just so many more opportunities for filly and mare sprinters on the turf these days.

"There aren't many spots for her at Gulfstream, which is too bad because she's run there twice and won both races, but we took a look at the Manatee and thought it fit her well."

Haddie Be Good has made 8 of her last 10 starts on turf, with the other two races being switched from the grass to the main track. She won both of those starts, including her lone 2008 effort, a mile allowance at Gulfstream. Last season Haddie Be Good won 2 of 9 races, with one of those wins coming in the Candy Eclair Stakes going 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf. She also finished second in the Giant's Causeway at Keeneland at five furlongs on the turf.

The seven-furlong Manatee will be one of Haddie Be Good's final races before she heads to the breeding shed.

"Some black type on the dirt will make her an even more attractive product as a producer and broodmare," Hennig said of Haddie Be Good, a winner of six of 20 starts and more than $240,000.

Although Haddie Be Good has good speed, Hennig believes she is at her best when laying just off the lead.

"She's a true stalker; she likes to have horses to run at," said Hennig, whose association with Tampa Bay Downs dates back to the mid-1970s, when he raced a string here. "She can hang 44 [for the half] on you any time, but her very best races come when she can sit off the leaders, then make her run into the stretch. I hope there's plenty of speed in the race Saturday. I'd like nothing better than to see a speed duel in front of us early."

Haddie Be Good will be ridden by Jose Ferrer at 122 pounds on Saturday.

Taylor Madison will be going for her third straight win at the meet Saturday, and will no doubt garner a good deal of support. Other contenders include Meredith Bee, who was closing ground quickly when fourth in the six-furlong Minaret, and Marina Ballerina, who finished fifth in the Grade 3 First Lady Handicap at Gulfstream Park last time out.