02/12/2004 12:00AM

Mare won't be facing recent rival


PORTLAND, Ore. - Stately's Choice, who came up a head short to Chancy Chancy in the City of Roses last time out after a heated stretch battle, won't have to worry about that rival in Saturday's $10,000 Sweetheart Handicap for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles.

Chancy Chancy had been expected to race in the Sweetheart but was absent when the race was drawn. Dave Runyon, who owns and trains Chancy Chancy, had said that he planned to run Chancy Chancy in the Sweetheart and then to turn her out for a rest.

Stately's Choice, a 5-year-old daughter of Stately Wager from the barn of trainer Ben Root, will shoulder high weight of 120 pounds after dropping a head decision to Chancy Chancy in the City of Roses. In that race, Stately's Choice came from sixth to head the front-running Chancy Chancy with a furlong to go, but yielded near the wire. Stately's Choice was conceding three pounds to Chancy Chancy that day.

There appears to be plenty of speed entered in the Sweetheart to set up the late move of Stately's Choice, who figures to be a heavy favorite in the seven-horse field under jockey Joe Crispin, the meet's second-leading rider.

Blue Atlantis was beaten 15 lengths by Chancy Chancy in the City of Roses after an awkward start but should give a better showing Saturday. Although it took Blue Atlantis eight starts to win her maiden for owner-trainer Henry Miller Jr., she has improved in her most recent starts, sandwiching maiden and an allowance wins around her sixth-place finish in the City of Roses.