05/05/2004 11:00PM

Misty Sixes, 6, better than ever


Unlike fine wine, racehorses aren't supposed to improve with age. The mare Misty Sixes may be an exception to the rule.

As a 4-year-old in 2002, Misty Sixes was claimed for $40,000 by trainer Steve Klesaris for Puglisi Stable. Last year, she ran well enough while rising in class to win 4 of 10 starts, including the Lighthouse Stakes on dirt at Monmouth Park and the Brookmeade Stakes on turf at Colonial Downs, while earning $153,004. Klesaris even thought enough to try Misty Sixes in the Grade 3 Turnback the Alarm Handicap at Aqueduct and the Grade 2 Falls City Handicap at Churchill Downs, though she failed to finish in the money in either race.

After watching the now 6-year-old Misty Sixes win her 2004 debut by 10 1/4 lengths in a one-mile allowance at Delaware Park last Saturday, Klesaris said that she could become a candidate for the track's premier event, the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap on July 18.

Misty Sixes, who earned a 96 Beyer Speed Figure for her May 1 victory, must first prove she belongs by performing successfully in local preps on the path to the Delaware Handicap, the $55,000 Summer King Stakes on May 22 and the $100,000 Obeah Handicap on June 19.

"Without a question, we will take a hard look at those races," Klesaris said. "She is a good mare and we have always been excited about her. She spent a good portion of the winter off and we freshened her. I purposely timed her comeback so she would be fresh for the spring, summer, and fall seasons. I am optimistic about this season with her."

Turf stakes next for Becky in Pink

Klesaris plans to look for a turf stakes for his 3-year-old filly Becky in Pink, who cruised to a three-length victory over a muddy surface in a one-mile, second-level allowance race Monday. She was awarded a 73 Beyer for her third win in seven lifetime starts.

"Obviously we need to try her in a small stakes somewhere," Klesaris said. "She has some grass pedigree and I have always wanted to try her on the grass, so this is the time of year for that to happen. We're going to look around and see what is available."

The possibilities include overnight stakes at Delaware and the $60,000 Fort Monmouth, a one-mile grass race at Monmouth Park on May 30.

Private Lap returns for Quick Card

Private Lap, a four-time stakes winner at Delaware last season, makes his first start of the year in Saturday's $50,000 Quick Card, a one-mile overnight stakes.

Trained by Klesaris, the 5-year-old Private Lap won 6 of 12 starts and $346,640 last year, highlighted by the $200,000 Caesar Rodney Handicap at 1 1/8 miles and the $100,000 R.R.M. Carpenter Jr. Memorial at 1 1/16 miles. He was denied a fifth stakes win when he finished a neck behind Bowman's Band in the $100,000 Brandywine Handicap at one mile.

Unraced since pulling up just after the start of last November's Grade 2 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs, Private Lap has recorded four consecutive bullet workouts for his comeback, including two five-furlong moves at Delaware.

Private Lap's competition in his bid to win the Quick Card for the second year in a row includes Country Be Gold, who adds blinkers after lackluster efforts in the Grade 1 Donn and Grade 3 Skip Away at Gulfstream Park, and stretch-out sprinter Secret Run, who earned a 111 Beyer two starts ago in New York.