03/29/2005 1:00AM

Silky Summer relishes one mile


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - The best horses on the Oaklawn Park card will run early on Thursday. The feature is slated as the first of 10 races, and the one-mile allowance for fillies and mares looks like a battle among solid favorite Racing Luck, five-time winner Silky Summer, and the Charles Cella-owned entry of Amanuensis and Spurt.

Unusual Syndrome and If Nine Was Six complete the field for the two-other-than allowance, which carries a purse of $34,500.

Silky Summer is the most accomplished member of the six-horse lineup, with more wins than her rivals and field-best earnings of $158,835. She comes into the race on the heels of a front-running win in an entry-level allowance March 16.

"She ran a big race the other day," said David Vance, who trains Silky Summer. "She got headed and she came back. She's a hard-trying mare."

Silky Summer's win came at the one-mile distance she will travel on Thursday.

"A flat mile is her best distance by far," said Vance.

Silky Summer can be on the pace or she can stalk, and will break from post 2. Don Pettinger has the mount.

Racing Luck was second at this level last time, finishing two lengths behind Creekers Surprise, a talented filly who might run in stakes. Racing Luck, trained by Tim Ritchey, has speed and can also stalk. She shortens up a sixteenth of a mile to the distance of her last win. Jeremy Rose has the mount.

Amanuensis and Spurt race for Oaklawn president Cella, but have different trainers. Pete Vestal will send out Amanuensis, who in her first start in close to four months finished fourth at this level last out. She shows a nice five-furlong work since, and will be ridden by Calvin Borel.

Mark Danner trains Spurt, who is also making her second start back from a layoff. She will be stretching out around two turns after racing over six furlongs last out, and should benefit from the added ground as her last win came at one mile in an entry-level allowance at Ellis Park on Aug. 28. Spurt will be ridden by Justin Shepherd.

If a speed duel were to develop, it could benefit Unusual Syndrome. If Nine Was Six figures to be with the pace on the stretch-out from six furlongs. She will break from the rail. Seth Martinez has the mount, while Cliff Berry will ride Unusual Syndrome.