02/26/2008 1:00AM

Moss looks to upgrade her stable's stock

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HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Maggi Moss is changing the direction of her stable, which led all owners in North America in wins in 2006. The objective is still to hit the wire first as much as possible, just with a higher-class horse.

"I'm trying to do quality over quantity," Moss said during a weekend trip to Oaklawn.

To that end, she purchased eight yearlings at auction last year, among them sons and daughters of Peace Rules, Stormy Atlantic, Stormin Fever, and Afternoon Deelites. She also is seeing some of her higher-end claims starting to make an impact in stakes. Indian Chant, taken for $50,000, won two stakes for Moss last year, and in his comeback at Oaklawn on Sunday finished second by a neck in an $80,000 optional claimer, earning a Beyer Figure of 100.

Shopton Lane, taken for $30,000, won an overnight stakes at Aqueduct on Feb. 6, his fifth win for Moss. She said that Temporary Saint, a winner of an optional claimer last out at Aqueduct, is being pointed for that track's $75,000 Stymie Handicap on Saturday. Moss also is looking for good things from Mulligatawny, who was a close fourth last out in the $80,000 Correction Handicap at Aqueduct; Mister Triester, the runner-up in the Grade 2 Illinois Derby in 2006 who has won his last two starts at Fair Grounds; and stakes winners Biglie Smallworld and Cort's P.B.

Moss said she has a stable of 75 horses, with 50 actively racing and another 25 returning from layoffs. She set a goal of winning the national owner title in 2006, and accomplished that with 211 victories from 756 starters. Moss said her objective last year was to crack the top five in stable earnings, which she did, finishing fourth with $4.2 million. (She also was second in wins in North America with 196.) She said her focus this year, within reasonable spending, is quality.

Moss's home track is Prairie Meadows, and she has 20 Iowa-breds - including some nice young prospects - on deck for the rich statebred program there. She said Chris Richard, who has some horses for her at Oaklawn, will have a number of horses for her this year at Prairie. It will be the first time the trainer has had a division in Iowa.

"I'm happy about it," said Richard. "I will still have a small string in Chicago, the Illinois-breds and the people that want to stay in Chicago. But the majority of my horses will be at Prairie Meadows."

Through Monday, Moss ranked second in the nation in wins this year, with 28 from 92 starters, and seventh in earnings, with $541,733.

Silver Lord probable for New Orleans Cap

Silver Lord, the runner-up to Grasshopper in the Grade 3 Mineshaft at Fair Grounds, was scheduled to ship from Oaklawn to New Orleans on Wednesday for the Grade 2, $500,000 New Orleans Handicap on March 8, said his trainer, Ron Moquett. However, a start in the Grade 3, $150,000 Razorback Breeders' Cup at Oaklawn the same day has not been ruled out, Moquett said Tuesday.

"We're keeping in mind our main goal is the Oaklawn Handicap, and whatever we can do to be in the best order for that is what we're going to do," said Moquett, who was debating between the New Orleans Handicap and Razorback on Tuesday.

The Grade 2, $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap will be run April 5.

Silver Lord, who throughout his career has been owned by Bowman Couch Racing, had been based at Fair Grounds with trainer Steve Asmussen for most of the winter after winning his maiden in November at Churchill Downs for Moquett. The horse is now based at Oaklawn with Moquett, and would run for him in the New Orleans Handicap, Moquett said Sunday.

Silver Lord won a first-level allowance and the $100,000 Louisiana Handicap at Fair Grounds in December and January. Moquett said he believes that the New Orleans Handicap would be a better fit for the front-running Silver Lord than the Razorback.

"I have to try and get my horse to the Oaklawn Handicap, and this race here doesn't really set up," he said, noting that other horses expected to start include fellow front-runners Spotsgone and Jonesboro.

Silver Lord is a 5-year-old by Unbridled's Song, and he earned a Beyer Figure of 98 in the Mineshaft.

Fires to ride at Oaklawn

Hall of Fame rider Earlie Fires, who has been riding at Gulfstream Park, is scheduled to arrive at Oaklawn later this week, said his brother, trainer Jinks Fires.

"He's going to come and stay for the rest of the meet," said Fires.

* The $50,000 Spring Fever, a 5 1/2-furlong sprint for fillies and mares, is the feature here Saturday.