04/02/2004 12:00AM

Highgate Park filly on the rise


Among My Souvenirs would have been a heavy favorite in Sunday's $50,000 Smart Halo Stakes at Pimlico. Unbeaten in her first three starts, including stakes at Aqueduct and Laurel Park this season, the 3-year-old Among My Souvenirs was withdrawn from consideration for the six-furlong Smart Halo on Friday morning because of a hoof abscess.

The absence of Among My Souvenirs makes the Smart Halo a wide-open race among 10 evenly matched 3-year-old fillies.

Highgate Park, a New York-based filly trained by Todd Pletcher, could inherit the favorite's role after winning a second-level allowance race at Aqueduct in her season debut a month ago. Ramon Dominguez will ride Highgate Park for the first time.

"She seems like she likes to be up close," said Dominguez. "I noticed she won in the mud a couple races back and it's sure to be a little off on Sunday. Todd always brings horses that have a shot."

Pacific Island, trained by Richard Dutrow Jr., also ships in from New York. She has finished first or second in her last five starts, including a neck loss to Highgate Park last time out.

Loving Lucy is the lone stakes winner in the field, but she has been idle since romping by 11 3/4 lengths in the one-mile Junior Championship at Monmouth Park last August. Trainer Mark Shuman excels at having horses ready to run after long layoffs, going 4 for 15 with that angle the past two seasons.

Among the Maryland-based horses, Spirited Game and Pass Me the Salt appear the most dangerous.

Spirited Game won her first two starts sprinting before flashing speed and fading in her two-turn and stakes debut on March 6. Pass Me the Salt shows a similar pattern. She finished a neck behind Spirited Game while sprinting two races ago, but then beat only one horse when she tried 1 1/16 miles.