09/25/2002 11:00PM

Lake nearly pulls it off with Rachelle's Numbers

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Maiden claimers are the bottom rung of racing's class ladder. It's usually a long climb from there to the classiest horses in the stakes ranks.

Trainer Scott Lake, who is well known for improving horses after they come under his care, came close to turning a maiden claimer into a six-figure stakes winner in one giant step.

Rachelle's Numbers, a 2-year-old filly Lake claimed for owner Richard Englander out of a victory at Saratoga last month for $75,000, came within a neck of winning last Saturday's $100,000 Maryland Million Lassie at Pimlico.

Rachelle's Numbers, a daughter of Polish Numbers out of Gravina, was making her career debut on Aug. 22, the day Lake claimed her. The trainer said that Englander likes to take chances on young horses whose dam has already produced successful runners.

Rachelle's Numbers is a full sister to Potomac Bend, a 1996 foal who won three stakes, including the Grade 3 Cicada at Aqueduct.

The Lassie, a restricted stakes, looked like a good spot to Lake because all but two of the fillies she had to face also had only one lifetime win. Rachelle's Numbers led until the final yards of the six-furlong race, when she was overtaken by 12-1 longshot Object of Virtue.

"I thought she ran tremendous in the Lassie," Lake said. "She really ran her eyeballs out." Lake called Object of Virtue "just a little bit better horse than her that day."

Lake said he is uncertain where Rachelle's Numbers will next run, but said he will likely try to find a spot in an allowance at Belmont Park.

Meanwhile, Lake is in position to win his first training title at Delaware Park. Through Wednesday, with 37 days of racing remaining in the meet, Lake leads the standings with 59 winners, seven ahead of Mark Shuman.

"I am obviously going to enter a little more here than other tracks so I can take a shot at being leading trainer," said Lake, who also runs horses at Philadelphia Park, Pimlico, and Belmont. "I think we have a pretty good shot at it."

No more turf for Your Out

After a one-race experiment on the turf, 4-year-old filly Your Out will go back to racing on the main track.

Your Out, second to Summer Colony in the Delaware Handicap in July, finished sixth in last Saturday's Maryland Million Ladies on Pimlico's grass course.

"It was not a disaster, but running on the turf certainly did not improve her any," said trainer H. Graham Motion. "I probably won't be looking to do it again. When you look at the charts, she ended up getting beat a couple of lengths for second, but she just did not have that explosive kick that she has on the dirt. It just did not translate to the grass."

Motion is unsure where Your Out will resurface. One option is to await the Turnback the Alarm Stakes, a Grade 3, 1 1/8-mile race at Aqueduct on Nov. 3. Otherwise, he might give her a confidence-builder at Delaware.

"We're going to regroup and try to get her back in a sensible place on the dirt," Motion said. "It's conceivable we could run her at Delaware in an allowance that she is eligible for, but I would rather run her in a stakes and I would rather run her at Delaware. It's a little bit tough to know which way to go."

* Eddie Martin Jr., currently ninth in the Delaware jockey standings and the leading rider at the Fair Grounds meeting last winter, has moved his tack to Kentucky to re-establish connections with trainers who will be racing at this year's Fair Grounds meet.