02/21/2008 1:00AM

Philadelphia Park: Legacy Reserve has flaws


Any horse good enough to finish third behind Hard Spun surely must be a standout in a stakes restricted to Pennsylvania-breds.

But there are enough question marks surrounding Legacy Reserve to make handicappers hunt for more appealing alternatives in the $75,000 Docent Handicap at Philadelphia Park.

Hard Spun, second in last year's Kentucky Derby and Breeders' Cup Classic, and winner of the Grade 1 King's Bishop and Grade 2 Kentucky Cup Classic, easily defeated Legacy Reserve by 8 1/4 lengths when they met as 2-year-olds in the Pennsylvania Nursery at Philly Park.

Now 4, Legacy Reserve ran well in his only other two starts locally, finishing second and first against open first-level allowance company early in 2007. Since then, however, he has lost 10 straight, been laid off for more than three months, and is just 1 for 12 lifetime over fast dirt tracks. He returns to Philly Park to make his first start since being transferred to Lupe Preciado's barn.

The best form among those in the 1 1/16-mile Docent who have previously competed in statebred stakes belongs to Serene Harbor, who was third in last summer's Smarty Jones Classic and second in two other restricted stakes, one on the synthetic Tapeta surface at Presque Isle Downs and the other on turf. He has raced only twice since early October, and his trainer, Elizabeth Merryman, is only 1 for her last 24 with layoff horses on dirt.

Sonvida Red, beaten less than a length by Serene Harbor last fall on the grass, is dangerous as a speed horse in good form favorably drawn on the rail. Stepping up in class off a $25,000 claim by trainer Scott Lake, Sonvida Red set a fast pace and was caught late going a mile three weeks ago.

Trainer Bob Seeger's coupled entry of half-brothers Chase for the Gold and Chase the Line merits respect. The two geldings are a combined 11 for 31 at Philly Park. If he runs, Chase for the Gold would be coming back on six days' rest after finishing last of seven in a third-level allowance. Chase the Line has been off since early November, and Seeger doesn't show any wins with males returning off extended breaks in dirt routes the last five years.