06/24/2004 11:00PM

Pletcher targets Summit of Speed

Email

MIAMI - Trainer Todd Pletcher will come loaded for bear as well as for Bear Fan when he ships four members of his potent stable to south Florida for the July 10 Summit of Speed program.

Pletcher was to scratch Harmony Lodge out of Saturday's My Juliet Stakes at Philadelphia Park to take another run at Bear Fan in the $500,000 Princess Rooney Handicap on the Summit card. He also will send down Alke for the $500,000 Smile Sprint Handicap, Forest Danger for the $300,000 Carry Back Stakes, and Frenchglen for the $300,000 Azalea Breeders' Cup. Stable rider John Velazquez will accompany Pletcher to Calder for the Summit of Speed program but will ride only three of his four entrants because he is already committed to trainer Wesley Ward and Bear Fan for the Princess Rooney.

Pletcher's decision to pass what looked like an easy spot for Harmony Lodge in Philly to try her luck for a second time in the Princess Rooney was partly due to the news out of trainer Kiaran McLaughlin's barn that Randaroo would be forced to skip the race due to a minor injury. Harmony Lodge finished a distant second to Randaroo this winter in Gulfstream Park's Shirley Jones Handicap. She was also well beaten by Bear Fan in the Genuine Risk Handicap at Churchill Downs.

"I wasn't terribly excited about coming down to face both of them again," Pletcher admitted.

Harmony Lodge finished third behind Gold Mover in the 2003 Princess Rooney.

Among the other likely starters in the Grade 2 Princess Rooney are Lady Tak and the locally based Mary Murphy.

Alke has not started since finishing second in the Dubai Golden Shaheen on March 27. The loss snapped a four-race winning streak that included an easy victory over reigning Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Cajun Beat in Gulfstream's Deputy Minister Handicap.

"We lightened up a bit on him after he returned from Dubai and have been pointing for the Smile ever since," said Pletcher. "The spacing of the race works out real well, especially for him since he's the type of horse who runs his best off a layoff."

Racing secretary Bob Umphrey listed Valid Video, Gators N Bears, Pohave, Clock Stopper, and Champali among the top sprinters he wants to bring to Calder for the Smile. Orientate used the Grade 3 Smile as a springboard to a Breeders' Cup Sprint victory and an ultimate Eclipse Award championship in 2002. Shake You Down won the 2003 edition.

Nomination for all six stakes on the Summit of Speed card closed Saturday. Umphrey will release weights for the Smile and Princess Rooney on July 3.

Secret Request has class edge

Secret Request's victory at odds of 74-1 in the $500,000 Distaff was one of the highlights of Gulfstream's Sunshine Millions program earlier this season. The 4-year-old filly will run for a much more modest purse here Sunday when she goes off as the favorite in the $40,000 Draw In, an overnight stakes that attracted a field of only six fillies and mares.

Secret Request tailed off following her last-to-first victory in the Millions Distaff, finishing fifth in two subsequent starts before rebounding with a come-from-behind 2 1/4-length victory over Sniffles in the Cut the Charm Stakes on May 7.

Sniffles will be among Secret Request's chief rivals in the Draw In, along with Never Fail and Gentille Alouette.

Clandestine and Firm Reality round out the field.