06/04/2008 11:00PM

Rosinka follows familiar path in Rooney


From June through September last year, Rosinka was among the best older turf females in the nation, winning three straight six-figure stakes and narrowly missing in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational at Belmont Park.

Now 5, Rosinka will attempt to follow the same path that proved successful a year ago when she defends her title in Saturday's $75,000 John Rooney Memorial Stakes at Delaware Park.

The 1 1/8-mile turf race for older fillies and mares drew a field of 14, which includes main-track-only entrants.

The Rooney is considered the local prep for the $300,000 Robert G. Dick Memorial, a 1 3/8-mile grass race on July 12 that has been upgraded to Grade 3 status.

Rosinka won the 2007 Rooney, which was worth $100,000, by a neck and the $257,000 Dick by 2 3/4 lengths in her only two starts at Delaware. She then shipped to Saratoga to capture the Grade 3 Glen Falls Handicap.

"If she runs well Saturday, then we will come back and run her in the Robert G. Dick in five weeks," trainer Graham Motion said of Rosinka, an Irish-bred daughter of Soviet Star who is 5 of 8 since she first raced in the United States in October 2006.

Rosinka, listed as the 7-5 favorite on the track's morning line, has prepped for her first start in eight months with a series of stamina-building drills over the Tapeta surface at the Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland.

"I could not be happier with her," Motion said. "She really is doing super."

Two of the horses Rosinka defeated in last year's Rooney are back to try her again, including the runner-up, the Jonathan Sheppard-trained Palmilla.

First or second in all six of her previous starts on Delaware's grass course, Palmilla takes a slight class drop after finishing fifth of 10 in the Grade 3 Bewitch at Keeneland in her 2008 debut.

Eres Magica also gets some class relief after failing to fire in the Grade 2 La Prevoyante at Calder and the Bewitch. A distant fifth in last year's Rooney after contesting the pace, Eres Magica has been transformed into a closer by trainer Michael Matz. Her best races have come at 1 3/8 miles and 1 1/2 miles, so this may be too short for her.