03/26/2007 11:00PM

Margies Smile back against statebreds

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OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Margies Smile, who stumbled badly at the start and finished last as the 8-5 favorite in last month's Busher Stakes, drops back to New York-bred company and looks to rebound in Thursday's $65,000 Ruby Rubles Stakes.

Margies Smile drew the outside post in a field of six 3-year-old fillies, and will be challenged, from the rail out, by Psychotic Colors, Absolute Heaven, Pasqualina, Sunset Cocktail, and Graeme Central in the six-furlong overnight stakes.

"She didn't hurt herself, and those were some nicer fillies than she's been facing," said trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. "She's doing good - she's ready to run."

Margies Smile gets Lasix for the first time, and looms a short price based on two races prior to the Busher. She set the pace and proved much the best against maiden and first-level allowance competition. She paired up Beyer Speed Figures of 80 for those victories, a number that stands out in a field where only Graeme Central and Sunset Cocktail have visited the low 70s.

Margies Smile was loose on the lead in both of those wins, and might wind up stalking the pace if Sunset Cocktail or Graeme Central - or both - are hustled from the gate.

"If she makes the lead naturally, that's always good," said Dutrow. "From the outside, if she breaks good, [jockey Alan Garcia] should be able to decide."

The short-term goal for Margies Smile is the Times Square division of the $100,000 New York Stallion Stakes on April 22.

The Stallion Stakes could also be on the horizon for Sunset Cocktail and Graeme Central, who each won a first-level allowance by open lengths last out.

Two starts back, Sunset Cocktail dueled throughout on the lead and was nailed on the line by Becky's Flute, who returned to win the $65,000 Dat You Miz Blue Stakes. Sunset Cocktail, who is based at Philadelphia Park for trainer Derek Ryan, took no prisoners when brought back to the Big A for her next start, winning by more than five lengths.

In her only start of the year, Graeme Central won decisively with a Beyer Figure of 71, her highest figure since the 72 she earned in winning her debut. That win came on March 10, which means Graeme Central is coming back on relatively short rest.

"I'd have loved to have another two weeks, but this is a good spot to try and get some black type," said trainer Rick Violette Jr. "You're always concerned when they come off such a big effort."