03/10/2007 1:00AM

Silmaril gets up late


Odds-on favorite Silmaril gave her backers some anxious moments before she prevailed by a neck in the $75,000 Conniver Stakes at Laurel Park.

Last of five Maryland-bred fillies and mares for the first half-mile of the seven-furlong Conniver, Silmaril ($2.80) still had only one horse beaten with a furlong remaining. Urged by jockey Ryan Fogelsonger, Silmaril had to go four wide turning for home, and needed nearly the entire length of the stretch to finally overtake 10-1 shot La Chica Rica a couple of strides before reaching the wire. La Chica Rica off Scheing E Jet by a neck for second.

Owned by Stephen Quick and Christopher Feifa, and trained by Chris Grove, Silmaril completed the distance in 1:25.13 in winning her 13th race and ninth stakes in 28 lifetime starts.

Grove said he was concerned bringing the 6-year-old Silmaril back just three weeks after she finished second in the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie, and Fogelsonger agreed his mount seemed leg weary.

"I could feel from the three-eighths pole on home that she was tired," Fogelsonger said. "She ran a huge race in the Fritchie, and it took a lot out of her. But she was just that much classier than this group and her heart is so big. She did what she had to do to get it done."