06/27/2007 11:00PM

Just for Keeps may switch tactics


MIAMI - With the $100,000 Mecke Handicap coming up Wednesday, followed by the $2 million Summit of Speed extravaganza three days later, there is no stakes action at Calder this weekend. But Saturday's card will feature one allowance and three optional claiming races, the best of which will go as the 12th race on the card, a six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares eligible for a second-level allowance or entered for a $25,000 claiming tag.

Just for Keeps, soundly beaten as the 1-5 favorite when suffering her first setback earlier this month, will attempt to rebound in Saturday's feature. She will be heavily favored once again to defeat four rivals - Reason to Rejoice, Gothic Beauty, Itchy Toes, and Itsibitsibikini.

Just for Keeps had captured her first two starts by a combined 13 lengths before finishing 5 1/4 lengths behind Songofthesouth when meeting older horses and stretching out to seven furlongs for the first time on June 7. The 80 Beyer Speed Figure she received in defeat matched the figure she had posted defeating entry-level allowance competition by seven lengths in her 3-year-old debut three weeks earlier.

"I knew it was going to be a big step up for her taking on older horses for the first time," trainer Mike McDonald said following Just for Keeps's first loss. "In her previous race she went six furlongs in 1:12. This time they went the first six furlongs in 1:10 and change. That's a big difference."

Just for Keeps, who has been in front or dueling for the lead in each of her three starts, will likely try to take back off the early speed of Reason to Rejoice on Saturday. Reason to Rejoice has led to midstretch in each of her last three starts, all at this level, only to falter late on each occasion.

Smokey Stover works in California

Smokey Stover, listed as the top sprinter in the country on the Watchmaker Watch, worked five furlongs in 58.20 seconds at Golden Gate Fields on Thursday in preparation for his appearance here July 7 in the $500,000 Smile Sprint Handicap.

Smokey Stover, who has won his last four starts, will fly from Northern California to south Florida this Saturday. He will be the first to arrive of the 20 or more horses expected to ship in for the $2 million Summit of Speed card.