12/29/2004 12:00AM

Route experience and post give edge to filly


Six of the nine horses in the field for Friday's $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Championship at Pimlico come into the 1 1/16-mile stakes for Maryland-breds off a victory.

The number of last-out winners could just as easily have been seven if Monster Chaser had not fallen a neck short in the H.S. Mitchell last time out.

With little to separate so many horses by using either their most recent race or last Beyer Speed Figure, handicappers need to find some other method to narrow the number of contenders.

Proven ability going two turns and post position draw can help winnow the list.

Of the seven runners who finished first or second in their most recent race, Lisaized, Game Boy Justin, Prideland, and Legal Control are the four who have already handled a route.

With a short run to the first turn, horses breaking from posts 1-3 have a distinct advantage in 1 1/16-mile races at Pimlico this meet. Inside posts are winning at a 17-percent clip. By comparison, horses leaving from posts 7-9 are winning at a clip between 8 and 12 percent.

In other words, Prideland (post 7) and Legal Control (post 9) have their work cut out for them. In their favor, New York shipper Prideland and the Dick Small-trained Legal Control drop in class to face statebreds for the first time.

So does Game Boy Justin, who starts just inside Prideland. Both led from wire to wire in their first start around two turns and set similar fractions, which means they could cook each other in a duel.

That situation would be ideal for Lisaized (post 3), the lone filly in the field. She improved her Beyer from a 59 to a 73 when stretched out to a mile at Philadelphia Park. Significantly, Lisaized also displayed the ability to come from off the pace and finish strongly.

Two others with stalking ability, Monster Chase and Seize, will be racing beyond six furlongs for the first time. Both have above average Tomlinson ratings for distance, an indication they should adapt well to 8 1/2 furlongs.

Monster Chaser is a proven performer in stakes, having won the Rollicking in October and finishing second in both the Mitchell and the Maryland Million Nursery.

Seize, 2 for 2 in sprints, makes his first start since beating optional claiming sprinters on Nov. 26.