08/31/2005 11:00PM

Mr O'Brien prepped and ready

Email
Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Mr O'Brien wins last year's Grade 2 Kelso. Saturday's Caesar Rodney Handicap will be only his second start this year.

Last fall, Mr O'Brien and Greek Sun were two of the better male turf horses in the country. Since then, however, both have spent far more time resting and recuperating than racing.

, who has run only once since the Breeders' Cup Mile, and Greek Sun, sidelined since winning the Grade 2 Oak Tree Derby 10 1/2 months ago, will try to get their careers back on track in Saturday's Caesar Rodney Handicap at Delaware Park. The $200,000 race will be contested at 1 1/8 miles on the turf.

The 6-year-old Mr O'Brien was highly competitive against top-shelf company last season, winning the Grade 2 Dixie Handicap at Pimlico and the Grade 2 Kelso at Belmont, finishing a close second in the Grade 1 United Nations at Monmouth, and rallying to get third in the Grade 1 Manhattan at Belmont. Despite a wide trip from post 14, Mr O'Brien was beaten less than five lengths by Singletary in the BC Mile.

Trainer Robin Graham planned to bring back Mr O'Brien in early July for the Da Hoss Stakes at Colonial Downs, but had to scrap that plan when he was taken out of training twice with an unspecified ailment. Mr O'Brien belatedly made his season debut in Delaware's Sussex Handicap on July 30, finishing third behind L'Oiseau d'Argent, who set an uncontested pace in a field of just four horses.

"I missed a couple of weeks of training with him a few weeks before the Sussex," Graham said. "When I had to miss the Da Hoss at Colonial, I missed a couple of weeks there, and that really cost him. But he is fine now and he really did need that last race, so it had to help him tremendously."

emerged as one of last season's best 3-year-old turf runners, finishing second to Eclipse Award winner Kitten's Joy in the Grade 1 Secretariat at Arlington and winning the Oak Tree Derby at Santa Anita. Greek Sun came down with inflamation in his sesamoid bones just before the Hollywood Derby last November and was given plenty of time to recover. Trainer Bobby Frankel has said Greek Sun is now ready to run following a series of stamina-building turf workouts at Saratoga.

Frankel isn't tipping his hand, however. He also has entered , winner of his last three starts, including the Grade 3 Oceanport at Monmouth. The Frankel horses are uncoupled. He did not name a rider for either horse.