06/04/2003 11:00PM

Put your trust in Sise


During a career that spans just six races, Ide Rather, a 4-year-old gelding, remains eligible for a two-other-than allowance and has neither raced on grass nor run beyond 1 1/16 miles. His Tomlinson ratings for turf and distance indicate he is not particularly well bred either for grass or to run a marathon.

His jockey, Cesar Dealba, is a seven-pound apprentice who has ridden only 20 races all year.

So what is Ide Rather doing entered in Saturday's $100,000 Greenwood Handicap, a 1 1/2-mile turf race that is the top distance grass event of the season at Philadelphia Park?

All you need to know is that Ide Rather is trained by Clifford Sise Jr. Based on what Sise has done since bringing a small string of horses from Southern California, Ide Rather probably has a good shot, regardless of how he looks on paper.

Of the first 11 horses Sise has run at Philly Park, six have won. Three of the others have finished either second or third. Dealba has been aboard for all but one of Sise's starters - the only 10 horses he has ridden at the meet.

Ide Rather is ambitiously placed after crushing first-level allowance horses in his first race at Philly Park on dirt. None of his siblings has yet to win on turf, and his Tomlinson turf rating of 270 is mediocre.

In Ide Rather's favor, the Greenwood Cup hasn't come up that tough and three of the prime contenders are cross-entered in the Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap at Belmont.

The likely favorite is Dr. Brendler, who scored at 18-1 in the Grade 2 Dixie Handicap on the Preakness undercard. That race came over soft turf, a distinct advantage with the likelihood the course will be less than firm following heavy rain earlier in the week.

Macaw, trained by Barclay Tagg, is winless in six starts since coming over from Europe last fall. But he has experience in long-distance races, and his losses include a close second in the Grade 3 Mac Diarmida Handicap at Gulfstream Park in January.

Gritty Sandie, the earnings leader in the field with a bankroll of more than $481,000, also specializes in turf marathons. A deep closer, Gritty Sandie was beaten only 2 1/2 lengths in the Grade 2 W.L. McKnight Handicap at Calder last winter and finished 1 3/4 lengths behind Macaw in the Mac Diarmida.

Dr. Brendler, Macaw, and Gritty Sandie are all also entered in the Manhattan, a 1 1/4-mile race with a purse of $400,000.