05/07/2003 11:00PM

Rematch in offing in Late Bloomer


Skip the Print and Haunted Lass, the first two finishers in the Late Bloomer Stakes on April 28, could stage a rematch in the six-furlong, $75,000 Sweet and Sassy Handicap on May 17 at Delaware Park.

Skip the Print, a 5-year-old mare trained by Javier Contreras, beat 4-5 favorite Haunted Lass by three-quarters of a length in the Late Bloomer. The 96 Beyer Speed Figure she earned was 1 point shy of her career best.

Contreras said Skip the Print seems to have regained the good form she displayed as a 3-year-old in 2001, when she won 5 of 10 starts. Last year, she was winless, but all four of her losses were in stakes.

"I think she is back to where when she was as a 3-year-old," Contreras said. "We gave her some time off this winter and it seemed to really freshen her up. Last year, we ran her against some really tough stakes company, including one race where she finished within three lengths of Xtra Heat. She was kind of run down a little bit, so we turned her out and she has come back this year very strong."

Skip the Print won her season debut in March, but was fourth in a six-horse field when she stepped up in class for the Primonetta Stakes at Pimlico. In that race, Skip the Print refused to change leads in the stretch.

Allen Iwinski, the trainer of Haunted Lass, said he is leaning toward running her in the Sweet and Sassy rather than shipping to Philadelphia Park for the $100,000 My Juliet on May 26.

"The My Juliet would give her an extra seven or eight days, but she has done well at Delaware and it's our home base," Iwinski said. "I wish it were the other way around."

Haunted Lass, a 4-year-old with five wins and five seconds in 12 lifetime starts, has never finished worse than second in six races at Delaware, including a win in last year's Nuit D'Amour.

"It's going to depend how she is training coming into the race," Iwinski said of his decision whether to run Haunted Lass at Delaware or Philadelphia. "If she's on the top of her game, then we will probably run in the Sweet and Sassy."

Iwinski is slightly concerned about Haunted Lass because of how she reacted after her loss in the April 28 overnight stakes.

"She did not eat up everything for a couple of days," Iwinski said. "Normally, she would come out of a race and eat everything and she has never missed a beat. This has been one of the few times a race really got to her."

Older horses in Quick Card

Classic Endeavor, whose four victories this season included a graded stakes in New York, and Private Lap, a two-time winner at Aqueduct this year, head a field of nine older horses for Saturday's $55,000 Quick Card Stakes at one mile.

Classic Endeavor, a 5-year-old trained by Scott Schwartz, wired a solid group that included Balto Star and Snake Mountain in the Grade 3 Excelsior Handicap on April 5, earning a 105 Beyer Speed Figure. He was also second in the Stymie with a 107 Beyer. Both those races were at 1 1/8 miles.

The 4-year-old Private Lap beat allowance horses twice in New York and most recently finished fourth in the Grade 3 Baltimore Breeders' Cup Handicap at Pimlico. His best Beyer this season is the 101 he posted going nine furlongs in late March.

The 6-year-old Runspastum, trained by Alan Goldberg, could be a threat if he's ready to fire in his first start of the season. Last year, Runspastum's only win in 12 starts came in the Owners' Day Handicap at Delaware. He was also third, beaten about a length by Cat's at Home, in the Grade 2 Iselin Handicap at Monmouth Park.