07/12/2001 12:00AM

Secret Status can get 1 1/4 distance


If you believe history repeats itself, then there's both good news and bad for Secret Status in next Saturday's $600,000 Delaware Handicap.

On the plus side, she will be ridden by Pat Day, who has won the last two runnings the race with Lu Ravi and Tap to Music.

Now for the bad news. In the race's long history, no jockey has ever won the Grade 3 Delaware Cap three times in a row.

Handicappers more interested in fundamentals than historical trends may be more concerned with another question. Can Secret Status win at 1 1/4 miles? Trainer Neil Howard thinks she can.

"Of course you really never know until they have done it, but I feel confident she will be able to handle the distance," Howard said. "Her running style and pedigree are indicative of a horse who should get the mile and a quarter."

Based on limited evidence, Howard appears to be right. The only time Secret Status tried the distance, in last summer's Grade 1 Alabama at Saratoga, she battled gamely to finish second, 2 3/4 lengths behind Jostle.

After winning 5 of 9 starts as a 3-year-old filly, including the Kentucky Oaks and Mother Goose Stakes, Secret Status is 1 for 3 this season, but 0 for 2 in graded stakes. Most recently, she finished second, 1 1/4 lengths behind Saudi Poetry, in the Fleur de Lis Handicap at Churchill Downs on June 16.

Keen arriving from Texas

When Lone Star Park's meeting ends Sunday, trainer Dallas Keen plans to relocate to Delaware with between 25 and 30 horses. Through July 8, Keen ranks eighth in the Lone Star Park trainer standings with a record of 13 wins from 53 starts.

"Last year, after Lone Star Park, we moved into Bowie Training Center and we raced at Laurel," Keen said. "I ran a couple of times at Delaware Park and really liked it."

Among the horses Keen is shipping from Texas is Valhol, who sustained a minor injury during a workout shortly after running third in the New Orleans Handicap at Fair Grounds.

"In a morning gallop, he was feeling good and hit himself on his splint bone and had a little fracture," Keen said. "We tried to let it heal on its own, but it started demineralizing, so he got minor surgery to correct it."

Keen tentatively plans to bring back Valhol in an allowance here and then look for a stakes race.

Please Me Doc pointed to Kent

Please Me Doc, four-length winner of the Gleaming Stakes on July 7, is being pointed toward the Grade 3 Kent Breeders' Cup on next Saturday's Delaware Handicap undercard.

Since switching to the grass, the 3-year-old Please Me Doc has won three consecutive races.

Trainer Robert Leonard said he is not worried about running Please Me Doc back on two weeks' rest and for the fourth time in 39 days because he won his last race so easily.

"He just galloped. As far as taking something out of him, it was not even like a race," Leonard said. "He gets harder workouts on the field at Fair Hill because they let him go the half in 49 and three, and they went the six furlongs in 1:14. It just turned out that the race had no pace in it."

Please Me Doc has flourished despite coping with ulcers that hampered him this spring. Leonard explained he treats the horse with a substance called gastrogarden.

"He's doing better now, but we have to use double [the dosage] with him," Leonard said. "We use two tubes and each tube cost $40, so he has got to win those races to pay for a year's supply."

* Delray Dew, a 3-year-old filly trained by Steve Klesaris, scored her fourth consecutive victory here in an allowance race on Monday's program. All four wins have been at 1 1/16 miles. During her streak, Delray Dew's combined margin of victory is 16 1/2 lengths.