03/10/2005 12:00AM

Richetta takes big class drop


Richetta hasn't won a seven-furlong race in 16 months and was far back throughout her most recent start at the distance three weeks ago. But because she's taking a steep drop in class, Richetta figures prominently in Saturday's $50,000 Conniver Stakes at Laurel Park.

The seven-furlong Conniver, restricted to Maryland-bred fillies and mares, is also the first leg of the Magna 5.

At 2, won back-to-back stakes going seven furlongs at Laurel in the fall of 2003, including the Maryland Million Lassie. She spent most of the past two seasons racing around two turns, winning a minor stakes at Monmouth Park last summer.

Two starts ago, Richetta cut back to one turn for the one-mile Nellie Morse and turned in a solid performance, falling a neck short of Silmaril, a four-time stakes winner.

Trainer Robin Graham ambitiously spotted Richetta in the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie, but the early fractions were much faster than her customary pace and she never ran a step. Richetta now gets significant class relief, going from a Grade 2 to statebred company.

Chrusciki, the 124-pound highweight, makes a rare appearance in a sprint for her first start since December. She was good enough to win a $100,000 stakes at Monmouth last August, but her trainer, A. Ferris Allen, is only 1 for 34 with horses going from routes to sprints the past two years.

Search for a Cure won a restricted stakes last season at Laurel and was a close second in the 2004 Conniver. She now changes barns, moving from Dale Capuano to Laura Dennis, and has been far from her best form in four consecutive starts, dating back 11 months.

Glory Lane, unbeaten in three starts since belatedly launching her career in December as a 3-year-old, moves into stakes company for the first time. Her most recent Beyer Speed Figure, an 80, puts her within range of the 83 Richetta earned in the Nellie Morse.