04/19/2006 11:00PM

'Magnolia' may get perfect trip

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NEW YORK - The Kentucky Derby graded stakes earnings list, which is so important this year with more than 20 3-year-olds currently eyeing the Derby, will for all intents and purposes be finalized after Saturday's Grade 2 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland, the last pertinent Derby prep.

Other Grade 2 stakes on Saturday's schedule are the Santa Barbara Handicap on the turf at Santa Anita and the Bed o' Roses Breeders' Cup Handicap at Aqueduct.

Bed o' Roses BC Handicap

Smuggler, last year's champion 3-year-old filly on the basis of victories in the Grade 1 Mother Goose and Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks, has already accomplished more than the rest of this field combined. But Smuggler has not raced since July, and even though she has that signature breezing workout line that works so well for so many Shug McGaughey-trained comebackers, she prefers longer distances than this seven-furlong event. So, at low odds, it is worth taking a swing against Smuggler this time.

I like the vastly improved Magnolia Jackson. Even though Magnolia Jackson's win streak was stopped at three when she was a narrowly beaten second last time out in the Distaff BC, it might have been the best performance of her life. She was pinned down on the rail for most of that race, and had to steady and angle out for racing room in the stretch, which cost her momentum. Magnolia Jackson still finished boldly, however, and missed by a diminishing neck to the heavily favored Smokey Glacken, who was coming off two overwhelming stakes scores at Gulfstream Park.

Trickle of Gold and Slew Motion might well hook up in a battle for the early lead, and Magnolia Jackson could be sitting in the garden spot in third. And, it wouldn't hurt if the track were to come up wet. Magnolia Jackson is 3 for 5 over off tracks.

Sixty Sails Handicap

Fleet Indian will be the favorite off a victory in the Next Move Handicap last time out, in her first start for trainer Todd Pletcher, and a 3-for-3 record at this 1 1/8-mile distance. Fleet Indian can certainly win this, but I wouldn't be surprised to see a regression. The Next Move was Fleet Indian's first start in three months, and she ran hard enough off that layoff to better her previous best Beyer Speed Figure by 10 points.

Platinum Ballet is a very logical play here. Many feel last month's Azeri BC was one of the best races so far this year because of the bitter battle between the Grade 1 stakes winners Round Pond and Happy Ticket. Platinum Ballet was beaten only 1 1/2 lengths finishing third. With little serious early speed in this event, Platinum Ballet will be in much closer early striking position than she was when fourth last time out in the Apple Blossom. Good early position puts Platinum Ballet in a position to upset.

Lexington

Last week's Blue Grass Stakes was yet another lesson in how costly it can be to take speed lightly at pre-Polytrack Keeneland. But I'm stubborn, and I don't see how the speed can hold up in this race. Like Now and Fast Parade are both one-way front-runners. But Fast Parade, who has West Coast speed, has never been beyond 6 1/2 furlongs, and Like Now won't be unmolested on the lead like he was when he lasted in the Gotham. Maybe they will go around the track one-two. If they do, it will be at my expense.

I'm going to draw a line through Greeley's Legacy's horrendous effort last time out in the Wood Memorial, attributing it to the sloppy, sealed track, and give him another chance. Greeley's Legacy was a close fourth in the Gotham, just a half-length behind Sweetnorthernsaint, who came back to romp in the Illinois Derby. When he won his start before the Gotham, Greeley's Legacy overcame a track favoring speed.

Saturday

Aqueduct: Bed O' Roses B.C. Handicap
Fillies and mares, 3 and up, 7 furlongs

Approximate post: Eastern-4:21 p.m., Central-3:21 p.m., Mountain-2:21 p.m., Pacific-1:21 p.m.; Ozone Park, N. Y., forecast: Rain, 51¦

PPHORSELAST 3 BEYERSODDS
1Annika Lass95948810-1
2Trickle of Gold85651005-1
3Magnolia Jackson9686944-1
4Slew Motion9166836-1
5Grecian Lover91957810-1
6Great Intentions8692845-1
7Smuggler9493986-5

Odds by Art Gropper

Hawthorne: Sixty Sails Handicap
Fillies and mares, 3 and up, 1 1/8 miles

Approximate post: E-5:26 p.m., C-4:26 p.m., M-3:26 p.m., P-2:26 p.m.; Stickney, Il., forecast: Chance of showers, 65¦

PPHORSELAST 3 BEYERSODDS
1Platinum Ballet9097864-1
2Eyes On Eddy7989936-1
3Fleet Indian9686815-2
4Culinary8474906-1
5Silver Highlight8877775-1
6Tappin for Gold6782808-1
7Sunset Kisses84506212-1
8For Gillian73856210-1

Track morning line odds

Keeneland: Lexington Stakes
3-year-olds, 1 1/16 miles

Approximate post: E-6:20 p.m., C-5:20 p.m., M-4:20 p.m., P-3:20 p.m.; Lexington, Ky., forecast: Slight chance of thunderstorms, 73¦

PPHORSELAST 3 BEYERSODDS
1Gone Prospecting74868220-1
2Showing Up10097-3-1
3More Than Regal80847110-1
4Hemingway's Key7584676-1
5Bear Character81786815-1
6Special Interest40836820-1
7Chin High76736615-1
8Like Now105100857-2
9Fast Parade10198845-1
10Greeley's Legacy57103895-1

Odds by Kristin Sadler