11/01/2002 12:00AM

Morvich a monsterless spot for I Love Silver


ARCADIA, Calif. - Over the last 18 months, I Love Silver has chased Point Given, Mizzen Mast, and Disturbingthepeace when all were in the best form of their careers.

For once, trainer Dean Greenman would like to see I Love Silver start in a stakes without facing a top-class runner. The opportunity could come in Sunday's $100,000 Morvich Handicap at about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita.

"He's run with monsters," Greenman said. "Hopefully, he's found a race that he can win." Fourth in the Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile on turf on Oct. 5, I Love Silver is making his second start on grass and first on Santa Anita's hillside turf course.

He faces nine others, including the turf star Sarafan and course specialists El Cielo and FJ's Pace.

Sarafan is the 122-pound topweight and is the most accomplished member of the field, having won 2 of 9 starts and $1,082,550 this year. He is being pointed to the Japan Cup on Nov. 24, according to trainer Neil Drysdale, and is using this race as a prep. In his last start, Sarafan finished second in the Grade 1 Clement Hirsch Memorial, a 1 1/4-mile race on turf here Oct. 6. Earlier this year, he won the Explosive Bid and Eddie Read handicaps and finished second in the Arlington Million.

"This is the only race we could find," Drysdale said.

El Cielo is seeking his third consecutive win in the Morvich Handicap, but has not started since finishing second by a nose in a one-mile allowance race on turf here last January.

Owned by a partnership and trained by Craig Dollase, El Cielo has won 13 of 21 starts and $674,375, and 9 of 12 on the hillside turf course. He has returned from lengthy layoffs in the past to win.

"I think we have him cranked enough," Dollase said. "We'd like to have had a prep. He's got his chronic problems and we've nursed him this far. I think he's doing good for his age."

FJ's Pace is a front-runner who has won 6 of 14 starts on the hillside course. He won his last two races - the minor Aprisa Handicap at Fairplex Park on Sept. 18 and an allowance race on the hillside on Oct. 11.

Macward has also run well on the hillside course. A 6-year-old, he won the Sensational Star Handicap for statebreds last January, but is winless in his last four starts.

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