09/18/2006 11:00PM

Rain could ruin great turf card


MIAMI - If the weather cooperates, Saturday's Festival of the Sun Preview program will be a good one.

Four of the 13 races carded for Saturday are scheduled to be run on the turf, including the $100,000 Judy's Red Shoes and $100,000 Needles Stakes, which drew full fields of 12 and 17. Unfortunately, rain has been a problem here for much of the summer. Management was forced to cancel turf racing on both the Extreme Day and Juvenile Showcase cards because of rain, and all three turf stakes on the Summit of Speed card, including the $100,000 Turf and Distaff Turf Sprint handicaps, were decided over a yielding course.

Turf racing has been canceled on 27 of the 44 programs presented here since July 1. From Aug. 20 through Sept. 14, 13 of the 14 live cards were held without turf racing because of steady rain. The turf course has not been listed as firm since Aug. 18, and it has been rated firm just six times over the past 12 weeks.

While several of the 29 3-year-olds entered for the Judy's Red Shoes and Needles would prefer a change in venue, both races figure to be much more competitive if they go as scheduled on grass. The two events serve as preps for the $200,000 Calder Oaks and Grade 3, $200,000 Calder Derby on Oct. 14.

The Needles is far and away the stronger of the two races and drew a field that includes turf stakes winners Mr. Silver, Croton Road, and Gin Rummy King. Five of the 17 entrants are on the also-eligible list.

Its filly counterpart, the Judy's Red Shoes, features Consider Thesource, who upset the 2005 My Dear Girl division of the Florida Stallion Stakes. A 3-year-old daughter of Notebook, Consider Thesourse finished second, beaten a neck, in her only previous turf outing last fall. Three weeks later, trainer Steve Standridge put her back on the main track, where she ran down pacesetter Stolen Prayer to win the My Dear Girl at odds of 52-1.

Consider Thesource went to the sidelines after winning the My Dear Girl and did not return to action until earlier this month, when she finished a fast-closing second behind A True Pussycat in the Ravolia Stakes, a race that was scheduled for grass but was switched to a sloppy main track.

"I was very pleased with her first race back," said Standridge, who trains Consider Thesource for her owner-breeder, the Rustlewood Farm Inc. "We had to stop on her after the Stallion Stakes with a little problem, and then it was one thing or another, nitpicking stuff, that held her up this year. But I'm very pleased with the way she's come back. She ran well on turf last year, so she can go either way."

Consider Thesource will be reunited Saturday with jockey Sebastian Madrid, who has ridden her in each of her first five career starts, including the My Dear Girl. Alfredo Clemente rode Consider Thesource in the Ravolia.

Silkily stretches out in Brave Raj

Madrid will also send Silkily against seven other 2-year-old fillies in the $150,000 Brave Raj Stakes at a mile and 70 yards. Silkily won her debut under a $50,000 claiming tag before finishing second in each of her last two starts, the six-furlong Desert Vixen and the seven-furlong Susan's Girl stakes. Trainer Angel Salinas will put blinkers on Silkily for the first time in the Brave Raj.

"She's an improving filly, and I know she's just dying to go two turns," said Madrid, who has ridden successfully on many of the major circuits in the East Coast, the Midwest, and in Saudi Arabia since he first came to the U.S. in 1983.

Silkily will likely go off as the second choice in the Brave Raj behind Post Invader, who easily won her first two local starts before shipping to Saratoga and finishing fourth in the Grade 1 Spinaway and Grade 2 Adirondack Breeders' Cup stakes.

The Brave Raj will share top billing Saturday along with the $150,000 Foolish Pleasure Breeders' Cup, which attracted a talented field of 11 juveniles. Leading that field are Yesbyjimminy, who is undefeated, and Cat Tour, the runaway winner of the one-mile Seacliff Stakes in his two-turn debut Sept. 2.

Rgirldoesn'tbluff favored in feature

Rgirldoesn'tbluff is the horse to beat among a field of seven older fillies and mares entered for Thursday's $28,000 main event, a second-level allowance at six furlongs. In her last start, Rgirldoesn'tbluff finished first in a race with Thursday's conditions, but was disqualified by stewards after impeding another rival through the stretch.

Leading rider Manoel Cruz has opted to take off both Ashlee the Great and Shesa Fast Lady to take the mount on Rgirldoesn'tbluff for trainer Kirk Ziadie.