05/29/2003 12:00AM

Ms. Sadira ready for encore


EAST BOSTON, Mass. - Ms. Sadira won the Drumtop Handicap two weeks ago. The weather has conspired to give many of her opponents in that race a rematch, as Saturday's $35,000 My Fair Lady Stakes has been moved off the turf to create a near carbon copy of the Drumtop.

Ms. Sadira has seemingly saved her best for stakes races. She stalked a hot pace in the Drumtop and won by 1 1/2 lengths under Jorge Vargas. Her only other win in 2003 came in the Hannah Dustin Stakes in February.

"I haven't run her back this quickly in a long time," said trainer Mike Aro. "The opportunity is there and I figured we had to take a chance. She also won't have to carry the grandstand on her back, even though we won, because the race was weighted as a turf race. We're like a lot of the others in there just trying to take advantage of it."

Aro credits Vargas for the work he did from a tough post in the Drumtop.

"Vargas gave her a great ride from the 10 post in that race," said Aro. "We didn't catch any breaks in there and he did a great job of getting her in position to win."

Picture Gallery, who was favored in the Drumtop, is also making the quick turnaround. Picture Gallery continued her habit of getting all or nothing in her races when a wide trip left her lagging in fifth as the 9-5 choice. Before the Drumtop, Picture Gallery had won two straight starts with strong off-the-pace moves. Of the fillies or mares in the mile and 70-yard my Fair Lady, she is most likely to upset Ms. Sadira.

Light Wave, who finished evenly to be third in the Drumtop, will break from the far outside and gets a rider switch to Tammi Piermarini. Light Wave has won two of her last four starts.

Rodeo Springs was steadied with two furlongs left in the Drumtop, which was her first two-turn race in 10 months. Rodeo Springs, owned by Yasou Stable Trust and trained by Charlie Assimakopolous, will have an entrymate Saturday, Special Jule.

Special Jule, who was second in the Miss Indy Anna Stakes at six furlongs, looks as if she might serve as a rabbit for her stablemate.

For Gold's Sake, Island Melody, and Massachusetts-bred Sunlit Ridge round out the field.

Joan O'Shea dies after long illness

Joan O'Shea, a former exercise rider and assistant trainer, died last Saturday after a long illness.

O'Shea was among the pioneering women who broke into racing as jockeys and exercise riders in the 1960's.

She galloped horses for trainer Jim Maloney, including 1963 3-year-old champion filly Lamb Chop. She went on to assist her husband, Joe O'Shea, and together they conditioned Rise Jim, one of the greatest Massachusetts-breds of all time. Joe O'Shea died in 1988.