09/28/2005 11:00PM

Separato again tries to beat Trapped Again

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Trapped Again and Separato, separated by no more than a length in two stakes at Delaware Park earlier this season, meet for the third time since mid-July in Saturday's $100,000 Kelso Handicap at Delaware Park.

The Kelso, at 1 3/16 miles on the main track, drew a field of eight older horses.

The 5-year-old Trapped Again, trained by Mike Gorham, finished ahead of Separato when second in the Carpenter Memorial Handicap on July 16 and first in the Owners' Day Handicap on Sept. 10. But since Separato was beaten only a length the last time they met and finished three-quarters of a length behind Trapped Again in the Carpenter, it wouldn't take much for the 4-year-old Separato to turn the tables.

A four-furlong workout by Trapped Again in 47.20 seconds last weekend confirmed Gorham's opinion that the horse remains sharp.

"He came out of the last race real good and he just had a good maintenance breeze," Gorham said.

Trapped Again has the advantage of possessing tactical speed in a field largely devoid of early foot. In contrast, Separato usually drops far back early and needs a fast, contested pace to set up his closing kick.

The most intriguing entrant is Navesink River, a top-shelf turf horse from Todd Pletcher's barn who will be racing on dirt for the first time in nearly a year.

The 4-year-old Navesink River won the Grade 2 Pan American Handicap on the turf last March in Florida, but hasn't run well in three subsequent starts. Last fall, Navesink River ran fourth in a pair of Grade 3 races contested at 1 1/8 miles on dirt. His Beyer Speed Figures in those races would make him a contender in the Kelso.

Laurel: Salary Cap moves up

Five of the seven 3-year-olds scheduled to run in the $60,000 Sonny Hine at Laurel Park Saturday also were entered in the $100,000 Gallant Bob Handicap at Philadelphia Park the same day, throwing a cloud over the field for both races.

One certain starter for the six-furlong Hine is Salary Cap, a six-time winner in 11 starts who makes a huge class jump to stakes company after crushing conditioned claimers by nearly 16 lengths on Sept. 9, earning a career-best 95 Beyer. He was claimed out of that race for $25,000 by trainer A. Ferris Allen III.

"In the condition book, there was nowhere to race him where we could move him up one notch," Allen said. "We either had to run him back for $25,000 or take the ambitious path by placing him in a stakes.

"The big question is his class, and we will find that out on Saturday. I'm not sure that he's as fast as his last Beyer Speed Figure made him out to be. He faced a fairly weak group."

Joey Carson, easy winner of all three of his starts, all at Delaware Park, will go off favored if he runs. As of Thursday, trainer Tim Ritchey was undecided whether to run him in the Hine or the Gallant Bob.

"He's shown promise from the beginning," Ritchey said of Joey Carson, a son of Lord Carson who did not begin racing until July 31. "We've been very patient with him. He's a fairly big horse who wasn't ready to race as a 2-year-old."

Finger Lakes: 'Marian' vulnerable

Based on Beyer Figures, Canadian shipper Blushing Marian is by far the fastest filly in the $50,000 Finger Lakes Juvenile Fillies.

Although Blushing Marian won her last start by 11 1/2 lengths and her 69 Beyer is more than 20 points better than the next-best figure among her nine rivals, there is reason to be cautious about taking a short price. Blushing Marian's big figure came over a wet, sealed track in maiden claiming company. She earned only a 15 Beyer in her career debut against straight maidens.

If Blushing Marian doesn't run back to her much-improved second start, the six-furlong Juvenile Fillies becomes a wide-open race. Four horses come out of maiden wins at Finger Lakes, all with Beyers within a narrow range of 47 to 42.

The filly who might have the best chance of upsetting Blushing Marian, however, is the maiden Bella Dorato. She has come from off the pace to finish second in each of her two starts, one at Saratoga and the other at Belmont.