03/21/2003 12:00AM

Second in Command sprints


After watching Second in Command splash his way to an 8 3/4-length victory in last month's Best Turn Stakes in New York, trainer Linda Rice suggested that the $200,000, one-mile Gotham might be a good spot for his next start.

Instead of stretching out, Second in Command will stick to sprinting when he runs in Sunday's $60,000 Horatius Stakes, a six-furlong race for 3-year-olds at Laurel Park.

In addition to earning a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 95 for his romp in the mud at 19-1 in the Best Turn, Second in Command was flattered when one of the horses he beat, Alysweep, came back to win last week's Gotham, run at a mile and 70 yards over Aqueduct's inner track.

The only question about Second in Command is whether he can duplicate his Best Turn performance over a track that is not wet. The two best races of his career have both been on sloppy surfaces.

If Second in Command fails to fire, there are a couple of horses with sufficient credentials to win.

Attainable, a winner of 3 of 5 starts for trainer Anthony Dutrow, finished 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Second in Command in the seven-furlong Goss Stryker in mid-January and improved to a Beyer Figure of 92 when he beat first-level allowance sprinters in his second start of the season on March 1.

"Anytime you ride a Dutrow horse, you have a chance because he has them ready to run," said jockey Mario Pino, who has ridden Attainable twice before. "This is a very competitive race, and my horse has as good a chance as any because he gives you 100 percent with each effort."

Gators N Bears earned a Beyer Figure of 96 in his 3-year-old debut against sprinters, then faded to third after setting the pace through the first six furlongs of the 1 1/16-mile Miracle Wood. Given six weeks to freshen, Gators N Bears showed he still retains his sharp speed when he worked a bullet four furlongs at Laurel on March 15.

Unlike the mud-loving Second in Command, Deadline clearly disliked the slop in the Best Turn, where he was never a factor. Prior to that non-effort, Deadline had won three in a row in Maryland over fast tracks.

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