07/01/2005 11:00PM

Miller has shot in both stakes


Kentucky-based trainer Darrin Miller has a solid threat in each of the turf stakes on Monday's rare afternoon program at Mountaineer Race Track.

Gin and Sin is lightly weighted at 109 pounds in the Coca-Cola Independence Day Stakes for older horses. He will try to make amends for his loss as the favorite in this same race last year.

Miller also has Modena Bay, a sharp 7-year-old mare seeking her first stakes victory in the United States, in the co-featured Firecracker Stakes for fillies and mares.

Both races are worth $75,000 and will be contested at one mile on grass.

First post time for the nine-race program is 2 p.m. Eastern.

Gin and Sin shipped in to win the one-mile West Virginia Speaker's Cup last August but could do no better than fourth as the 2-1 favorite in the 2004 Independence Day.

This season, he set the pace before tiring late in an allowance at Churchill Downs and was up close in the stretch of a 1 1/2-mile overnight stakes at Arlington Park. Senor Swinger, who finished slightly more than two lengths ahead of Gin and Sin, came out of the Churchill race to win the Opening Verse Handicap at Churchill Downs.

Package Store and Doctorate, both coming off turf victories, are Gin and Sin's chief competition.

The 7-year-old Package Store defeated nine rivals in Mountaineer's Memorial Day Handicap, his most recent start.

Doctorate, based at Churchill with trainer Niall O'Callaghan, gets 10 pounds off, carrying 112 pounds, following a half-length victory over 11 horses in a high-priced optional claimer at Arlington.

In the Firecracker, Modena Bay took two years off between her last race in New Zealand and her first U.S. start in March 2004. She has since won 3 of 8 starts for Miller, including a neck victory over $80,000 optional claimers at Churchill last time out.

Secret Heart, a 6-year-old South African import trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, could be the favorite, despite a poor performance in the Grade 2 Nassau at Woodbine in her most recent start. A repeat of either of Secret Heart's previous two races, seconds against allowance runners at Keeneland and Gulfstream, might be good enough in this spot.

The field also includes Beau Watch, who just failed to last as the pacesetter in the Decoration Day Handicap, and Tempest Fugit, winner of the Golden Sylvia Handicap on dirt on June 21 but just 1 for 10 on turf.