06/11/2009 12:00AM

Last year's 2-3 try Rooney again


Royalties and Shytoe Lafeet, separated by a length when they were second and third in last year's running, will seek to pick up a bigger chunk of the $75,000 purse for the John Rooney Memorial Stakes when stakes action returns to Delaware Park after a six-week absence Saturday.

The Rooney, a 1 1/8-mile turf race, drew a full field of 14 fillies and mares, including recent Grade 3 winner Winter View, the tepid morning-line favorite at 4-1.

The two-three finishers from the 2008 Rooney are both seeking their first win of the season. They both were off the board last time out in the Grade 3 Gallorette Handicap on the Preakness undercard.

Larry Jones, who trains Shytoe Lafeet, said he thought the 6-year-old mare was compromised by a modest pace in the 1 1/16-mile Gallorette.

"She is one of those mares that needs a fast pace to run at and we did not get it down there," Jones said of the stakes at Pimlico on May 16. "That is just how turf racing some times turns out. She is training like she will run just fine."

Although 0 for 5 in turf races at nine furlongs, Shytoe Lafeet ran well in last year's Rooney, beaten 1 3/4 lengths by the winner, Rosinka. She followed up by winning the $110,000 West Virginia President's Cup at Mountaineer.

Royalties, a 6-year-old trained by John Fisher, was making her first start since November in the Gallorette. Her best performance in six starts last season came in the Rooney, where she finished three-quarters of a length behind the winner.

Winter View, winner of the Grade 3 Bewitch at Keeneland in late April, and Astrologie, fourth in the Grade 2 La Prevoyante at Calder on April 25, will be meeting slightly softer competition in the Rooney, but may need more distance to perform at their best. Winter View's two wins this season were both at 1 1/2 miles. Astrologie's shortest race the past two years came at 1 3/8 miles in France.

One other horse who finished ahead of both Royalties and Shytoe Lafeet in the Gallorette merits respect. Tejida, part of an uncoupled entry for trainer Michael Matz, is taking a slight class drop after facing Grade 3 company in her last four starts. She owns a 2-for-3 record over Delaware's turf course.