05/04/2005 12:00AM

More Than Promised may be best, but at what price?


If you think picking the Kentucky Derby winner is difficult, take a look at Friday's eighth race at Calder, the GTOBA Oaks, a $50,000, 1 1/16-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies who are progeny of Georgia Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association-nominated sires.

Handicapping the race is as much a handful as its title. The nine entrants last raced at four different tracks, none of them at Calder. The past class levels of the entrants range from Leona's Knight, who ran in two Grade 2 stakes at Gulfstream Park this winter, finishing last both times, to five runners still eligible for nonwinners-of-two races.

The most likely winner is , who owns a tidy record of a win and a place in two turf starts as well as the highest Beyer Speed Figure in the field on grass, 82. More Than Promised also attracted jockey Manoel Cruz, who had ridden two others in this field, Skiffs Angel and Tiger Belle.

But More Than Promised ran last of nine, beaten by 15 3/4 lengths in her last start, and if she is anything less than 3-1 on Friday she would be an underlay.

Wise Briana, 5-1 on the morning line, and Skiffs Angel, 8-1, look next best. Wise Briana owns the race's second-highest turf Beyer Figure, 80, and ran second, beating 10 rivals, in a $75,000 claimer at Gulfstream two starts back.

Skiffs Angel, like More Than Promised, has a win and a place in two starts on grass, and comes in off a solid second in a $33,000 allowance at Gulfstream last out.

Tiger Belle, ridden by Cruz in her maiden win at Calder in December, gets a jockey switch to Eduardo Nunez. She was a fast-closing second in a $50,000 claimer on turf at Gulfstream last out, indicating she is fit.

Leona's Knight's three career wins are the most of any filly in the field, and she takes a big class drop from those Grade 2's this winter and the $85,000 Sophomore Fillies Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs last out April 9. The last time Leona's Knight was competitive in a race, six starts ago, she won the $100,000 Three Ring on Dec. 4 here at Calder.

Stavinsky's Gal, coupled with Unzippher, has the best early speed and could find herself alone on the lead.