02/01/2007 12:00AM

Liquidity and Pirates Deputy clash in Sham


ARCADIA, Calif. - Liquidity finished a game second in the Grade 1 Hollywood Futurity in December. It was the best race of his four-race career and will make Liquidity the favorite in Saturday's $100,000 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita, a race that has drawn several promising 3-year-olds trying to establish a presence in the division.

Liquidity, trained by Doug O'Neill for Paul Reddam, finished a neck behind Stormello in the Hollywood Futurity. Liquidity will be seeking his first stakes win in the Grade 3 Sham, which is run over 1 1/8 miles.

The race has drawn two stakes winners - Pirates Deputy, the winner of the Joe Gottstein Futurity at Emerald Downs and California Breeders' Champion Stakes here, and Kolo, the winner of the Eddie Logan Stakes on turf here in December.

Also in the field are the stakes-placed Song of Navarone, the maiden winners Ravel and Silent Soul, and the maiden Time Squared.

Pirates Deputy was named the California-bred champion 2-year-old male of 2006 in late January. Trained by Bob Baffert, Pirates Deputy has run well in four starts around two turns, including the Gottstein win and runner-up finishes in the California Cup Juvenile and Grade 3 Delta Jackpot Stakes.

"He never runs a bad race," Baffert said. "The guy is just solid. I think he's a better horse given his last race."

Pirates Deputy, a closer, who made up 13 lengths in the final three furlongs to win the seven-furlong California Breeders' Champion Stakes.

"Sometimes, he loses contact with the field," Baffert said. "I want to keep him learning and get some experience. Right now, you need experience. It's early. What happens in March is more important."

Liquidity will be near the front, as will Kolo, who is trying the main track for the first time. Trained by Carla Gaines, Kolo won a maiden race over 1 1/16 miles on turf at Hollywood Park on Dec. 14 and the one-mile Logan Stakes by a neck.

Ravel won a 1 1/16-mile maiden race convincingly in his second start, on Dec. 3, drawing off by 3 1/2 lengths. Time Squared was a fast-closing third in a maiden race over 1 1/16 miles on Jan. 21. Shortly after that race, trainer Patrick Biancone said he would stick to his plan of running Time Squared in the Sham despite the loss.

Silent Soul is making his third consecutive appearance in a stakes. Trained by David Hofmans, Silent Soul finished fifth in the Hollywood Futurity and fourth in the Grade 2 San Rafael Stakes on Jan. 13. His lone win came in a maiden race on turf at Hollywood Park in November.

Song of Navarone makes his graded stakes debut after winning 2 of 3 starts in New Mexico. Trained by Henry Dominguez, Song of Navarone suffered his first defeat in the Riley Allison Futurity over 6 1/2 furlongs at Sunland Park on Dec. 31, missing by a neck.