11/10/2008 1:00AM

Like Now in form for Dudley upset


NEW YORK - It's a sort of Breeders' Cup for Florida-breds Saturday at Calder Race Course, where the Florida Million card of eight statebred stakes races worth $1.2 million will be renewed. The only graded stakes on Saturday's schedule are the $175,000 Mrs. Revere Stakes at Churchill Downs and the $150,000 Red Smith Handicap at Aqueduct. Both are Grade 2 events scheduled for the turf. And at Hollywood Park, the headliner is the $100,000 Real Quiet Stakes.

Jack Dudley Sprint Handicap

This is one of the Florida Million races, and there isn't any question that Yesbyjimminy is the horse to beat. Yesbyjimminy won his last four starts sprinting over the track, all as the favorite. His last two wins came in stakes, and he earned three straight triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures. That is an achievement no one else in this field can boast, and this isn't even the first time Yesbyjimminy has accomplished that. Yet, I'm still going to try and beat him.

Yesbyjimminy had to work hard to win last time out, much harder than you would expect a 1-10 shot to have to work in order to succeed. That, combined with the fact that his Beyer Figure, while still a solid 100, represented a decline for a second straight start, and him being given two months off to recover, suggests to me that Yesbyjimminy is not quite in the dominating form he was in during July and August.

Like Now is the play here. After taking a while to round into top form, Like Now ran his best race in ages most recently when he ran away from the rest of a good optional claiming field at Belmont Park. He has since been turned over to trainer Wesley Ward, who has good numbers with new arrivals to his barn, and for whom Like Now has worked very well at Calder over the last month. Although he is cutting back in distance, Like Now has the natural speed to withstand such a distance switch, and it certainly doesn't hurt that he has the services of the best rider in the race, Edgar Prado.

Honey Bee Stakes

Hamsa has the flashiest company lines, and Spritely has the best last-out Beyer in this feature at the Meadowlands, but that doesn't mean either one of them has to win. Hamsa chased Music Note when second in the Grade 1 Gazelle most recently and when fourth in the Grade 1 Mother Goose three starts back. But Hamsa was fourth of only four in the Mother Goose, and was second in the Gazelle only because the other two starters proved completely incapable. On Hamsa's behalf, she did run well in New York in her previous two starts at the overnight level. But because of Music Note and the races she comes out of, she'll be an underlay.

As for Spritely, she ran well when third to the talented Informed Decision when third in the Missile Belle Stakes at Belmont last time out, earning a 91 Beyer that is best in this field. But Spritely, who is trying two turns again, was dismal in her first try going long, and she will have to be used early here to clear from her outside post.

My Main Starr is intriguing at what should be a square ticket. My Main Starr suitably stretches back in distance and drops in with straight 3-year-olds while making her second start off a freshening. And My Main Starr's two-turn form when she gets an honest pace to rally into is solid, including her willing second two starts back in the Go for Wand at Delaware to Seattle Smooth. Seattle Smooth, of course, came back to whip champion 3-year-old filly aspirant Proud Spell in the Cotillion in her next start.

Mountaineer Mile Handicap

Here's a first for the Warrior: Two plays on two night tracks. But this race is appealing because one of the favorites, Ravalo, seems vulnerable. He sports fine form, but it looks like he would much prefer a sprint instead of a two-turn race like this.

I like Researcher. Researcher won big in his last two starts, and it might not be a coincidence that those romps came off the switch back to dirt from turf, and off a 2 1/2-month freshening. But Researcher is razor-sharp right now, and he figures to sit a sweet trip, stalking a pace expected to be set by the suspect stretch-out sprinter Ravalo.

Some weeks, the Warrior has to struggle to come up with three worthy races. Other weeks, it's hard whittling the plays down to just three. This is one of those weeks, so let's make the Mrs. Revere Stakes at Churchill Downs our bonus race this week.

My Princess Jess was a fine third in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup last time out from a tough post, but she's compromised by another tough outside post on Saturday. Acoma, who has never lost a race in Kentucky, took to turf like a daughter of Aurora should when she won the Valley View most recently, but I have questions about how good a race that really was.

I can excuse Raw Silk's last three losses for reasons of distance or off footing. But she is the lone speed in the Mrs. Revere, and she's worth a shot to lead wire to wire on firm footing and going a shorter distance than she has been going lately.