08/31/2007 11:00PM

Makderah has work cut out

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - If trainer Kiaran McLaughlin thought he was going to find an easy spot when he entered Makderah in Monday's Grade 3, $100,000 Glens Falls Handicap, he was probably surprised when he picked up the overnight.

Makderah, the beaten favorite in the Grade 1 Diana earlier this meet, will find several battle-tested graded stakes horses in the Glens Fall, scheduled for 1 3/8 miles over Saratoga's inner turf course. Among Makderah's main competition are graded winners Safari Queen, Rosinka, and Mauralakana.

McLaughlin was extremely high on Makderah entering the Diana, a race in which she finished third, 1 1/4 lengths behind My Typhoon. McLaughlin thought the presence of Countess Scala - entered as a rabbit for Mauralakana - was going to ensure a fast pace. But the early fractions were modest, and Makderah didn't show the late punch McLaughlin expected.

"We thought there'd be a little more pace, and we did run into a filly that was on top of her game, ran huge and finished fast," McLaughlin said, referring to My Typhoon. "We were a little bit wide and had a lot of ground to make up."

McLaughlin said Makderah is "training great" leading up to the Glens Falls.

Safari Queen, the 120-pound highweight, won the Orchid at Gulfstream and the Bewitch at Keeneland. She also ran second to Royal Highness in The Very One and second to Honey Ryder in the Sheepshead Bay. Royal Highness won the Grade 1 Beverly D. in her most recent start.

Safari Queen finished fourth to Rosinka in the Robert G. Dick Memorial at Delaware Park. With Velazquez electing to ride Makderah, Kent Desormeaux has picked up the mount on Safari Queen.

Rosinka, trained by Graham Motion, has won three consecutive races, including the Dick Memorial, from which runner-up Royal Highness came back to win the Beverly D. Rosinka has been training very well in Saratoga since that race.

Pictavia won the Drumtop Stakes at 1 3/8 miles by four lengths on closing day of the Belmont meet.

"It wasn't that strong a field, but she's really done well since that race," said Rick Mettee, who oversees Godolphin's New York string. "This is a solid, tough Group 3. She's improved, and we expect a good run from her in this race."

Mauralakana finished sixth in the Diana after winning the Grade 3 Locust Grove impressively at Churchill. Barancella finished behind Safari Queen in the Bewitch, and has not been out since that April 25 race.