06/20/2007 11:00PM

Miss Andretti wastes no time


As the winner of an Indy 500 and a Formula One champion, Mario Andretti had a reputation as a race car driver with his foot always pressed firmly to the floor. In Miss Andretti, Australia has produced a sprinter who takes after him in more than name alone.

The winner of the Group 2 King's Stand Stakes on Royal Ascot's opening day Tuesday, the speed-loving Miss Andretti will be wheeled right back on Saturday for the Group 1, $697,000 Golden Jubilee Stakes, and anyone looking for a way to beat her and her 7-4 antepost price had better adjust their thinking cap.

An Australian-bred 6-year-old mare, Miss Andretti ran up an enviable record Down Under, winning 16 of 22 starts, among them four Group 1s, two Group 2s and two Group 3s. Her last three starts there were victories at the Group 1 level, so it was hardly a surprise when she zoomed clear to win the five-furlong King's Stand, leaving England's best sprinters in her wake along with a pair of multiple Group 1-winning Aussies, including last year's King's Stand winner, Takeover Target.

Miss Andretti's step up to six furlongs on Saturday will pose no problem, according to trainer Lee Freedman, as her last two victories back home, the Newmarket Handicap and the Australia Stakes, both came at that distance. She broke Ascot's five-furlong track record by more than two seconds on Tuesday, she has run and won with as few as nine days' rest in the past, and with regular rider Craig Newitt aboard looks very much like an international good thing.

The King's Stand runner-up, Dandy Man, will not try Miss Andretti again in the Golden Jubilee, but fellow Aussies Magnus and Takeover Target, third and fourth in the King's Stand, will.

For Takeover Target it will be a case of deja vu, as he followed his 2006 King's Stand triumph with a third-place finish in the Golden Jubilee. England will try to keep the prize at home with Amadeus Wolf, recent winner of the six-furlong Group 2 Duke of York Stakes, and the lightly raced Asset, who set a six-furlong track record at Newmarket in winning the listed six-furlong Abernant Stakes on April 19 and who showed class at last year's Royal Meeting when he was second to Jeremy in the Jersey Stakes.

* The Group 2, $278,000 Hardwicke Stakes at 1 1/2 miles for older horses Saturday looks like a battle between Scorpion, winner of the recent Group 1 Coronation Cup, and Maraahel, who was 1 3/4 lengths third that day. Because of that Group 1 win, the Aidan O'Brien-trained Scorpion must spot Maraahel five pounds, and that difference could be telling. Linas Selection, a course-and-distance handicap winner at this meeting last year, is a danger for Mark Johnston despite making his first start in 10 months.