02/10/2005 12:00AM

Pedersen visits Laurel - on business

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Based on her previous trip to Maryland this winter, it seems safe to conclude New York-based trainer Jennifer Pedersen brings horses that are ready to run their best.

On Jan. 29, Pedersen shipped in three runners to Laurel Park and two of them won. On Saturday, she makes a return appearance, this time with entrants for four races, including Mr. Sword, who faces first-level allowance company in race 8 after winning his maiden at Laurel on Pedersen's last trip to the track.

Pedersen's most dangerous threat, however, is the stakes-winning 3-year-old filly Amazing Buy, a prime contender in the $75,000 Wide Country Stakes at one mile.

In two starts in January, both as an odds-on favorite, Amazing Buy crushed 11 maiden rivals sprinting six furlongs and followed up by stretching out to a mile and 70 yards to win the Busanda by 2 1/2 lengths. Her last two Beyer Speed Figures were 82 and 93, the lowest of which was 10 points higher than the best number any of her seven rivals in the Wide Country have ever earned.

Those looking to beat Amazing Buy at a short price can take heart in one fact. The one Pedersen-trained horse to lose on Jan. 29 was Adriatic Sea, who finished last in the featured Nellie Morse Stakes.

If there's a filly capable of improving enough to defeat Amazing Buy, she's likely to come from the trio of Take a Check, Secrets Galore, and Dixie Talking.

Take a Check has been a consistent performer in stakes competition. In three starts at that level, she has run second each time, most recently as the beaten favorite behind Dixie Talking in the Maryland Juvenile Fillies Championship on Dec. 30.

In that race, Take a Check endured an extremely wide trip and was able to pass three horses from the stretch call to the finish line, but still wound up 1 1/4 lengths behind Dixie Talking. Neither filly has started since then.

According to Daily Racing Form statistics, Richard Small, trainer of Take a Check, is 5 for 14 with a $3.68 return on investment with horses returning from short layoffs in stakes since 2002. Dixie Talking's trainer, Robin Graham, is 0 for 6 in the same category.

Secrets Galore ships in from Philadelphia Park for trainer Lupe Preciado following a win going seven furlongs against optional claimers. Last fall, Secrets Galore finished fourth behind Sis City in the Grade 2 Demoiselle at Aqueduct. Sis City recently scored a 16-length victory in the Davona Dale at Gulfstream Park.