09/11/2008 12:00AM

High Resolve faces softer second off rest


Trainer Greg Gilchrist is a firm believer that a comebacking Thoroughbred shouldn't have her toughest race in the first start off a layoff. But he asked a lot of the 3-year-old High Resolve in her Aug. 13 return, which came against older females in an allowance race at the Bay Meadows Fair, and she lost for the first time in her six-race career.

The good thing is that race should have High Resolve primed for a winning effort in Saturday's $50,000 Sweepida at the San Joaquin County Fair in Stockton, Calif.

High Resolve, 3, will be meeting her own age group again in the six-furlong sprint and will be both the one to catch and the one to beat. She had won three straight stakes before going to the sidelines in February.

"The timing is right," said Gilchrist.

Seven rivals signed up to meet her, including Joyful Me, a game winner of the Fairfield Stakes on July 19 at Solano. Joyful Me then ran second in the Aug. 17 Last Dance, the final race to be run at Bay Meadows.

Mission Viejo Halo, third in the Fairfield in her last start, and Tiz Madison, who set the pace in both the Fairfield and the Last Dance, are also entered. So is Tail Spin Topper, runner-up to High Resolve in the Princess Stakes in February at Bay Meadows who will be making her first start since finishing fifth in the Fairfield.

Tiz Madison has run faster early than High Resolve has - but High Resolve has always found a way to get the lead in each race. Gilchrist bought High Resolve for the late Harry Aleo in part because she was sired by Smokey Stover's sire, Put It Back.

High Resolve has a tactical advantage, drawing one stall outside of Tiz Madison in post 5.

High Resolve has had two works since her comeback, including a 59.20-second five-furlong drill that was best of 42 at Golden Gate on Saturday.

Joyful Me could provide competition, but she could also be at a disadvantage. She comes from off the pace and drew the rail, which could lead to traffic problems.

Though he will saddle the likely favorite, Gilchrist knows High Resolve still has to run well to win - even though he has higher expectations for her.

"I think it's safe to think she'll meet tougher in her next start," he said.