10/06/2004 11:00PM

Presidentialaffair's Beyers stand out

Bill Denver/Equi-Photo
Maryland Million favorite Presidentialaffair, Stewart Elliott up, wins the $100,000 Salvator Mile Handicap at Monmouth Park in July.

Presidentialaffair, who lost a photo finish to Docent in last year's Maryland Million Classic, will be one of the strongest favorites on Saturday's Maryland Million card at Pimlico. During the last year, Presidentialaffair has gone on to win two Grade 3 races and finish second to Ghostzapper in the Iselin, a race in which Ghostzapper earned a 128 Beyer Speed Figure.

Docent would have been seeking his third straight win in the $200,000 Classic, a feat unprecedented in the 19-year history of the Maryland Million, but was taken out of training this summer after two lackluster stakes performances at Monmouth and Philadelphia Park.

Special first post time for the 12-race Maryland Million program, which consists of races for the offspring of Maryland sires, is 12:45 p.m. Eastern. In addition to the Classic, the card includes eight stakes worth $100,000 apiece.

The 5-year-old Presidentialaffair, based at Philadelphia Park, was at his best during a stretch in July and August when he strung together three superior Beyer Figures of 112, 110, and 110. That streak was highlighted by a wire-to-wire win in the Grade 3 Salvator Mile.

Last time out, Presidentialaffair finished last of seven in the Grade 1 Woodward at Belmont.

"He came out of the Woodward a little sore," trainer Martin Ciresa said. "The race before, where he finished second to Ghostzapper, he had an abscess on his foot."

Ciresa said he believes Presidentialaffair is physically fit, based on a three-furlong workout in 37 seconds on Monday.

"He has really improved over the last 10 days," Ciresa said. "Stewart Elliott worked him Monday and he was phenomenal."

Only three other horses in the field of eight for the 1 3/16-mile Classic have run a Beyer of 100 or better in the last six months.

Aggadan ran back-to-back Beyers of 109 and 110 during the summer at Belmont. Both races were at seven furlongs, however, and he's a question mark going beyond 1 1/16 miles. He was cross-entered in the Sprint but will run here.

The 4-year-old Donald's Pride, a distant second to Presidentialaffair in the Skip Away at Monmouth, earned a 104 Beyer in his first start of the season in the Brandywine at Delaware and got a 99 after crossing the finish line first in an overnight stakes at the same track in August. He was disqualified from that win, however, and remains winless in five starts since last November.

Irish Colony ran a 104 Beyer at Pimlico in the nine-furlong Jim McKay in April, but hasn't come close to that number in six subsequent starts.

In the eight stakes worth $100,000 apiece:

* Multiple stakes winner Richetta, who won in open company at Monmouth in August, heads a field of 10 3-year-old fillies in the 1 1/16-mile Oaks.

* The 9-year-old La Reine's Terms and 7-year-old Slew Valley, who each have earned more than $700,000 on the grass, head a group of six going 1 1/8 miles in the Turf.

* Golfing Wench, adding Lasix for her second start off a layoff, and Partners Due, equipped with blinkers after flashing speed and tiring at Saratoga, are the most intriguing 2-year-old fillies in the six-furlong Lassie.

* Namequest, winner of three in a row and part of a three-horse entry from trainer Ben Feliciano, and former Turf winners Elberton (2001) and Move Those Chains (2003) are leading contenders in the first running of the five-furlong Turf Sprint.

* Recent maiden winner What's Up Lonely, two-time winner Monster Chaser, second-time starter Karbobway, and Bank on the Champ all come off Beyers between 62 and 66 in the wide-open Nursery for 2-year-olds at six furlongs.

* Five stakes winners, including 5-year-old Bronze Abe, who has hit the board in two graded races this season, and Ribbon Cane, a winner of four in a row at Charles Town, Delaware, and Timonium, headline a tough group of filly and mare sprinters in the six-furlong Distaff.

* Deer Run and Crossing Point, the two-three finishers who were a nose apart in last year's Sprint, are strong threats in the Sprint again. Deer Run won this race in 2002.

* Midwest-based filly Hail Hillary, who won last year's Ladies as the 9-5 favorite, faces a competitive group of filly and mare turf runners that includes stakes winners River Cruise, Coquettish, Chrusciki, and True Sensation in the 1 1/8-mile Ladies.