11/27/2003 12:00AM

Laurel: Favorites stuck outside


Shiny Sheet and Undercover, the two best horses in Saturday's $100,000 Geisha Handicap at Laurel Park, will have to overcome poor post positions. They will break from posts 8 and 9 in a field of nine Maryland-bred fillies and mares.

The 5-year-old Shiny Sheet, who comes into the Geisha off a win and a close third against open stakes company, drops back in with statebreds for the first time since finishing fifth against males in the 1 3/16-mile Maryland Million Classic in October. Her last three Beyer Speed Figures (90-96-97) are the best recent dirt figures in this field.

Undercover has won her last three races but has been idle since winning the nine-furlong Gala Lil in late March. Trainer Tony Dutrow excels with runners returning from long layoffs, having won with 10 of 19 starters that have been off more than 180 days the past two seasons.

Both Shiny Sheet, who won the Geisha last year, and Undercover run the risk of getting caught wide in the short run to the first turn in the 1 1/16-mile Geisha.

Mystic Notion, who is favorably drawn in post 3, might be a viable alternative. A 5-year-old mare, Mystic Notion ran well in the Nellie Morse at Laurel 10 months ago, won her most recent start at the track last month, and is 3 for 8 at the distance.