09/26/2007 11:00PM

Shippers look to dominate Carey

EmailSTICKNEY, Ill. - Local horses swept the top three spots in the 2006 edition of the Grade 3, $150,000 Robert F. Carey Memorial Handicap, but out-of-town shippers should rule the race this year.

The Carey, a one-mile grass race that's part of Saturday's Hawthorne Gold Cup card, drew eight entrants, and this time only two of them - Gold Hornet and Come on Jazz - are locals. The strength of the race comes from New York, from where the probable top three betting choices - Ballast, Classic Campaign, and Crested - have shipped.

Classic Campaign and Ballast traded decisions this past winter in Florida: Ballast won the Dec. 2 Tropical Turf Handicap at Calder with Classic Campaign fifth, but a month later, it was Classic Campaign first and Ballast sixth in the Ft. Lauderdale at Gulfstream. Neither horse has won since, but the edge Saturday may go to Ballast, who probably got the wrong trip when he set the pace and tired to fourth last out in the 1 1/8-mile Bernard Baruch at Saratoga. Ballast has won three times at a mile, and seems like the sort of horse who will handle Hawthorne's tight turf turns.

Crested, who has been training with Wally Dollase's string at Belmont, shipped last fall to Hawthorne and finished a fast-closing, slightly troubled second in the Hawthorne Derby. Crested has failed to finish even as high as third in his five starts at one mile, but has faced better horses in his last three one-mile tries than he does Saturday.

In from California is Masterpiece, who won the restricted Brubaker Handicap on Aug. 16. Obi Wan Kenobi raced just one week ago, finishing fifth in the Franklin Stakes at Kentucky Downs. Onthedeanslist is the likely pacesetter.

Jennie R. back on short rest

Trainer Michelle Boyce basically conceded defeat in the Indian Maid Stakes earlier this week. Yes, Jennie R. was going to run in the race, but Boyce seriously doubted she could beat the horse she thought would be favored, Quite a Bride.

Turns out, Jennie R. doesn't have to beat her. The Bill Mott-trained Quite a Bride wasn't entered in the $100,000 Indian Maid, and now Jennie R. looks like the horse to beat in the 1 1/16-mile grass race.

A full field of 12 was entered in the Indian Maid, but that shouldn't affect Jennie R., who does her running on the lead. It's been an effective style. Jennie R. was a struggling mare last year at 5, and she began her 2007 season in a $50,000 claiming race; she won by four, and has gone on to do more. Jennie R. won the Possibly Perfect, was second in the Grade 3 Modesty, and checked in a respectable fifth in the Grade 1 Beverly D. She was second by a half-length after tracking a hot pace in a restricted turf stakes Sept. 15 at Arlington, but Boyce said a quick turnaround doesn't concern her.

"It's not a normal thing, but she came out of the race just fine," Boyce said.

Of greater concern to Boyce is a change in venue from Arlington, where Jennie R. has excelled, to Hawthorne, where she's failed to win in two starts on the grass course.

"The turns are very sharp here," Boyce said. "She didn't do particularly well here before."

But handicappers seeking a horse for the course are looking in vain: Not a single entrant in the Indian Maid has won on the Hawthorne turf. Barbette, however, has won turf races on three different courses this summer - Ellis Park, Arlington, and Lone Star - and raced at a distance much farther than her best when she faded to eighth last time out in the 12-furlong Claire Marine at Arlington.