08/08/2001 11:00PM

Maresha tries Adirondack

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OCEANPORT, N.J. - Maresha, trained by John Servis, will add some additional Jersey flavor to Monday's Grade 2 Adirondack at Saratoga when she joins Lost Expectations as the two Monmouth representatives in the stakes for 2-year-old fillies.

Maresha, a $125,000 daughter of Judge T.C. purchased at the Ocala Breeders' Sale in March by DJ Stables, made her career debut here July 1. The race was run minutes before a massive storm, and the horses had to run into a headwind down the stretch with the lights over the finish line as the only illumination in a nearly pitch-black sky. Maresha made up a lot of ground late, and just missed by a nose to Forest Heiress.

If it's any indication how Maresha will run, then watch the replay of last weekend's Colleen Stakes. Forest Heiress made her second career start in the Colleen, and recorded a 96 Beyer Speed Figure in a stellar romp. Maresha exited her nose defeat to Forest Heiress to win her maiden here at 3-1 on July 21, earning a 70 Beyer Speed Figure. Servis decided to skip the 5 1/2-furlong Colleen and wait for the Adirondack, a much more ambitious spot for the filly, because he believes she will appreciate the longer distance of the 6 1/2-furlong Adirondack.

"We have very high expectations for her," said Servis. "What I like most about her is that it seems like she is begging to go farther."

Maresha recorded her final workout before the Adirondack here Thursday. She breezed four furlongs in 49.20 seconds, finishing the workout very strongly with a 24-second final quarter. "She was very anxious, but was well restrained," Servis said. "It was a good last move for the race."

Maresha will retain the services of jockey Jose Velez Jr., who has been aboard for both her starts, in the Adirondack.

"She's a nice filly, and I'm excited to keep the mount," said Velez.

Servis said the Grade 3 Sorority here Sept. 1 is a possibility, depending on her performance Monday.

Sapling next for Lil Badger

Lil Badger, fourth in the Tyro Stakes here July 29, will make his next start in the Grade 3 Sapling on Aug. 18, the premier race here for 2-year-olds.

Lil Badger won a maiden race against Jersey-breds, and then ran fourth despite running greenly in the Tyro. Trainer Mary Hartmann said Lil Badger would be equipped with blinkers for the Sapling. Lil Badger is slated to workout Saturday from the gate with blinkers for the first time.

"We're looking for a big effort in the Sapling," Hartmann said. "He has been doing great since the Tyro."

The Sapling is shaping up as a great race. Tyro winner Pure Precision and runner-up Doc Wild are both pointing for the Sapling, as is undefeated Jersey-bred Capture the Silver and Vinemeister, second to Capture the Silver in the debut of both horses June 23. Ronny Werner nominated three and is likely to send a starter from his Saratoga base, and D. Wayne Lukas, eight-time winner of the Sapling, is sure to send a nice 2-year-old.

Also expected for the race is Calder-based Juggernaut, who has two won straight, including a win over Pure Precision in the Criterium Stakes.