09/11/2007 11:00PM

Scooter Girl to Cotillion?

EmailMIAMI - Scooter Girl had trouble winning her maiden against claiming opposition. Now she's among the nominees for Philadelphia Park's Fitz Dixon Cotillion Stakes on Sept. 22.

Scooter Girl needed five starts to win her maiden, four of them coming under a $32,000 claiming tag. But the daughter of Impeachment has flourished for trainer Mike McDonald since being asked to run two turns on the main track late this spring. Scooter Girl rallied to win a first-level allowance race going a mile by two lengths on June 8, shipped to Monmouth Park eight weeks later, and finished second in the Grade 3 Monmouth Park Breeders' Cup Oaks, and then returned to Calder and dominated the one-mile Regal Gal here by 9 1/2 lengths on Aug. 25.

"She tricked me a little," said McDonald, who recently returned home to Florida after spending the bulk of the summer stabled at Saratoga. "She always trained well but disappointed us the way she ran. And since all her relatives had trouble winning beyond 6 1/2 furlongs, it was a bit of a surprise that she actually has gotten better around two turns."

McDonald said he would assess the potential competition, which figures to include multiple Grade 1 winner Octave, before making a decision on whether to ship Scooter Girl north for the Cotillion. Scooter Girl is also nominated for the main track only for the $100,000 Judy's Red Shoes here on Sept. 22, a race scheduled for 1o1/16 miles on the turf.

McDonald is also hoping for an improved showing from his other top 3-year-old filly, Flankers Lady, in Friday's first race. Flankers Lady won her first two career starts by a combined 13 1/2 lengths before shipping to Saratoga, where she finished fifth and eighth in a couple of second-level optional claiming and allowance races this summer. She'll race under similar conditions but against lesser competition in Friday's opener.

"I thought she was that kind of horse when we took her to Saratoga," said McDonald. "Maybe she's not. Or perhaps she just didn't like the track up there. I guess we'll find out Friday."

McDonald did not have the best of luck himself in his first full summer at the Spa.

"Some of my better babies got hurt up there," he said. "And the one real nice one I did have that made it to the races was sold privately just before I got to run her myself."

McDonald was referring to the New York-bred 2-year-old filly Meriwether Jessica, who won her debut by 12 1/2 lengths for trainer Linda Rice at Belmont Park on Sept. 7.

"She had trained well for me at Saratoga and I actually had her in the entries but had to scratch her when the sale was completed the morning of the race," McDonald said. "Linda wound up buying her for a new client, and the filly couldn't have won any easier the first time out."

Strong debut winner Sacred Realm steps up

Friday's first race is one of three interesting allowance contests on a nine-race card that begins at 2:50 p.m. In the seventh race, impressive debut winner Sacred Realm steps up into allowance competition to face the already stakes-tested pair of Ben's Tune and Ariel Bright in a six-furlong dash for 2-year-old fillies. The eighth race pits the speedy 3-year-old Dream of Angels against the more experienced Yes He's the Man, Whos Crying Now, and Blazing Rate.

Sacred Realm outgamed the odds-on favorite Robbies Gal to win her only start by three-quarters of a length for trainer Phil Gleaves and owner-breeder Peter Vegso. Her 81 Beyer Speed Figure is among the top numbers earned by any debut 2-year-old winner here this summer.

Ben's Tune and Areil Bright finished fourth and fifth, respectively, behind division leader Silk Ridge in the six-furlong Desert Vixen Stakes on Aug. 11.

Dream of Angels, who beat the best of the local 2-year-olds when winning the Jack Price Juvenile in an upset here last November, returned from a long layoff to finish third in the Eillo Stakes and second against older horses in the Major Moran last month. Currently trained by Laura Posada, Dream of Angels is one of two 3-year-olds in Friday's $40,000 allowance feature along with Captain Cameron.

Whos Crying Now, once among the leaders of the local handicap division, has not hit the board in four starts since winning his 2006 finale here in December and may need a race returning off a four-month hiatus.