05/02/2002 11:00PM

Hot-cold Rollette vulnerable


AUBURN, Wash. - The 6-year-old stretch-runner Rollette got hot a couple of seasons ago at Golden Gate, winning four of five starts in a streak that culminated with her first stakes victory in the six-furlong Richmond Handicap on Feb. 17, 2001.

She did not win again - didn't even finish in the money - in her next nine starts, including three outings last summer at Emerald. Rollette broke her win drought here on opening day, however, coming from next-to-last in a field of 10 to win going away in the Ropersandwranglers stakes with six furlongs in a crisp 1:09.20. Trainer Tom Wenzel hopes there will be more of the same in Rollette's future, beginning this Sunday in the 6 1/2 furlong Hastings Park Handicap for older fillies and mares.

"She has demonstrated in the past that she can stay good once she gets good, and right now she is about as good as I've ever seen her," said Wenzel. "That's a tribute to Dan Markle, who was training her in California. When I got her last year she was tired from her California campaign, but this year she was just starting to get good. It was a nice hand-off on Dan's part."

Wenzel knows that being in peak form doesn't guarantee success for Rollette, whose late-running style can leave her vulnerable.

"She needs a track she can close on, and she needs a fast pace she can close into," said Wenzel. "The track was actually playing for speed on opening day, but she got such a favorable pace that it didn't matter. I'm not sure that will be the case again on Sunday."

Personal Decision, Sophisticated Slew, and Kalowana Sunrise battled hammer and tongs through a half-mile in 44.20 seconds in the Ropersandwranglers, then faded to finish eighth, ninth, and 10th, respectively. Neither Sophisticated Slew nor Kalowana Sunrise were nominated for the Hastings Park, however, and that could leave Personal Decision to dictate the fractions.

Shandra's schedule

Shandra Smiles was on the verge of taking control of last season's 3-year-old filly division when she was injured. She hit the side of the gate at the start of the Kent Handicap, in which she had been bet down to 4-5.

She won't return to action until the 6 1/2-furlong Washington State Legislator's Stakes on May 26. "I had hoped to run her in the Hastings Park, but she isn't quite ready," said trainer Steve Bullock. "She worked six furlongs in 1:12 and change last week, but I didn't like the way she finished. She is one good six-furlong work away."

Bullock said Shandra Smiles suffered a stifle injury when she hit the gate in last year's Kent, then chipped an ankle when she was being prepared for a fall campaign. The bone chip was removed last winter, and she is now completely sound.

Makors Mark in training for Governor's

Makors Mark, who was named last season's horse of the meeting at Emerald after posting a trio of stakes wins, has returned to training after recovering from a serious illness. A 5-year-old Son of Briartic, he suffered a bout of colic earlier this spring, then began to founder.

"It was touch and go for awhile, and I lost a lot of sleep," reported assistant trainer Grant Forster. "But he made it through, and he has been back galloping about a week now. Our goal is to have him ready to run in the Governor's Handicap on Aug. 4, then bring him back in the Longacres Mile on Aug. 25. It's a tight schedule, but we came make it if nothing else goes wrong."

* Edneator, who won the 2000 Longacres Mile en route to horse of the meeting honors, worked six furlongs in 1:11.80 on Tuesday morning and is just one workout away from his 2002 debut, according to exercise rider Bryson Cooper, the husband of assistant trainer Kay Cooper.

* Painted La Riva, who is one of just a handful of horses to be double registered as a Thoroughbred and a Paint Horse, is now ready to run but must sit out a mandatory 10-day waiting period after bleeding in a workout last week. Trainer Jim Keen said she will be entered in the first available maiden special weight race for 3-year-old fillies.

* Work has been completed on Portland Meadows's new waste-water disposal system. Track president Art McFadden said horses will be allowed onto the grounds for summer training as soon as government agencies sign off on the project.