09/21/2006 12:00AM

Post Invader's price unappealing in Brave Raj


MIAMI - Post Invader left town this summer as the leader of Florida's 2-year-old filly division after opening her career with a pair of one-sided victories. She returns home Saturday trying to maintain that status as the favorite against seven rivals in Calder's $150,000 Brave Raj Stakes Breeders' Cup Stakes.

The mile and 70-yard Brave Raj is one of four stakes on Calder's Festival of the Sun Preview program, along with the $150,000 Foolish Pleasure and the $100,000 Needles and $100,000 Judy's Red Shoes stakes, both of which are scheduled for the turf.

With Post Invader ineligible for the rich Florida Stallion Stakes program, trainer Gerald Procino opted to ship her to Saratoga following her easy 4 1/2-length victory in the Cassidy Stakes here on July 15. A stretch-running daughter of Salt Lake, Post Invader held her own against top competition at the Spa, finishing fourth in both the Grade 1 Spinaway and Grade 2 Adirondack BC stakes.

The key question Saturday is whether Post Invader will be worth a short price stretching out around two turns for the first time off her two races in New York. For those looking to beat the favorite the alternatives include Silkily, Pampered Lady, Naseem, and Lucky Too.

Silkily has finished second in the opening two legs of the filly division of the Stallion Stakes and will add blinkers for her two-turn debut.

Pampered Lady rallied to a six-length maiden win going seven furlongs in her last start but will wheel back on only two weeks' rest.

Naseem turned in a racing rarity by winning her career debut against stakes company, rallying from last to capture the one-mile Lindsay Frolic on Sept. 2. Lucky Too, who led to midstretch before succumbing to Naseem that day, should again prove the one to catch in the Brave Raj.

Needles: Mr. Silver has back class

A group of 17 3-year-olds entered the 1 1/16-mile Needles although a maximum of 12 can start. Only eight of the horses have won a race on grass.

Mr. Silver is among them. A son of Concorde's Tune, Mr. Silver has won three times on turf, including a pair of stakes, the Appleton Juvenile Turf Stakes at 2 and the Sophomore Turf Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs earlier this season. But Mr. Silver has gone winless in four starts since upsetting odds-on favorite Go Between at Tampa, three of those losses coming at Monmouth Park and the fourth in the Grade 3 Hill Prince over a soft course at Belmont.

"He likes the surroundings and the turf course here, and hopefully bringing him home will get him back on track," said Ed Plesa Jr., who trains Mr. Silver for the partnership of Henry Mast and the Thorobeam Farm.

Mr. Silver has won 2 of 4 starts over his home course and figures to prompt the early running under jockey Abel Castellano Jr.

If the race goes as scheduled on grass, Mr. Silver figures to receive his stiffest challenges from Croton Road, World Battle, or Gin Rummy King.

Croton Road, like Mr. Silver, loves the Calder turf, where he has won 3 of 6 starts, including the Lord Juban on June 24. A son of Mr. Greeley, Croton Road has not started since finishing seventh behind Gin Rummy King over yielding ground in the Donthelumbertrader on July 15.

World Battle rarely runs a bad race on grass and has captured 2 of 5 starts since he was beaten just a length by Mr. Silver at Tampa in the Sophomore Turf. He was also a good second behind Mr. Croton in the Lord Juban.

Gin Rummy King has not started on grass since he rallied to earn a head decision over Jet Propulsion in the Donthelumbertrader. The versatile Gin Rummy King has yet to finish worse than second in three tries on turf.

If the Needles, which serves as a prep for the Grade 3, $200,000 Calder Derby on Oct. 14, is moved to the main track, the complexion of the race will change completely with Rehoboth and How's Your Halo the likely favorites and Thanks Dubya, Big Lover, and R Loyal Man becoming prime contenders.

Judy's Red Shoes: Wide-open race

The Judy's Red Shoes, filly counterpart to the Needles and a prep for the $200,000 Calder Oaks on Oct. 14, drew a full field of 12.

Versatile fillies such as Bayou's Lassie and Consider Thesource are among the leading candidates to win. Prospect of Love, A True Pussycat, Running Lass, and Silversider are also win threats.

The lightly raced Bayou's Lassie has captured 3 of 4 career starts, two on dirt, with her most recent win a convincing 2 1/4-length score in a second-level allowance that served as her two-turn and turf debut on Aug. 12.

Consider Thesource upset the My Dear Girl Division of the Florida Stallion Stakes here last season at odds of 52-1. She has started just once since and was second, beaten a neck, in her only outing on grass.