05/19/2005 12:00AM

Perspicacious must gain bettors' respect


MIAMI - The second leg of Calder's Senior Triple, Saturday's $50,000 Maryland My Maryland Stakes, may mirror the middle leg of the real Triple Crown in more ways than one.

The Senior Triple is a series of three stakes on the same days as the Triple Crown races and at the same distances but the series is for 3-year-olds and up.

The Maryland My Maryland will be decided at the 1 3/16-mile distance of the Preakness. It is likely that the winner of the opening leg of the Senior Triple, Perspicacious - just like Kentucky Derby hero Giacomo - will not be favored in round two despite defeating much the same field two weeks earlier.

ran down the even-money favorite, Sir Ray, in the final furlong to post a neck victory in the 1 1/4-mile My Old Kentucky Home Stakes on Derby Day. Those two and four other members of the My Old Kentucky Home field will meet for a second time in the Maryland My Maryland, with Sir Ray expected to be favored again in Saturday's rematch.

Perspicacious, a 6-year-old Argentine-bred, began the year in northern California before shipping to south Florida in the spring. He adapted quickly to racing in this part of the country, winning a $32,000 claiming race at Gulfstream Park on April 20 before returning to upset Sir Ray 17 days later in the My Old Kentucky Home.

Perspicacious is trained by his owner, Ralph Biszantz, who is stabled regularly at Calder for the first time this season. Eddie Castro, the meet's leading rider, guided Perspicacious to victory in the My Old Kentucky Home, but with Castro out of town Saturday, Biszantz has tabbed Eduardo Nunez for the assignment in the Maryland My Maryland.

Sir Ray set an uncontested pace, then resisted gamely when challenged by Perspicacious in early stretch of the My Old Kentucky Home. The loss snapped a modest two-race local win streak for Sir Ray, a son of Sir Leon who has captured 5 of 9 starts over his home course.

The Man, Moon Warrior, U Madea Fortune, and Winneratthewindow, the third- through sixth-place finishers in the My Old Kentucky Home, will try their luck against the top pair again Saturday. They will be joined by a trio of new faces led by Sir Jackie and also including Mr. Lion and Behind Enemy Lines.

Like Sir Ray, Sir Jackie loves this track, having finished first or second in all eight of his starts at Calder. He is also the only 3-year-old in the field and enters the event off a last-to-first neck victory against first level allowance company on May 7.