02/18/2006 12:00AM

Silvestris scaring away main rival


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - On paper, Monday's $65,000 Dearly Precious Stakes looms a rubber match between and Oprah Winney, who split decisions in the Randaroo and Ruthless Stakes earlier this winter.

But Richard Dutrow Jr., the trainer of Oprah Winney, was so impressed with how Silvestris trounced his filly in the Ruthless that he plans to scratch Oprah Winney if Silvestris runs.

"If that other filly runs, I'm not running,'' Dutrow said.

If Dutrow remains true to his word, it seems that Silvestris will be that much tougher to beat in the Dearly Precious, a six-furlong race for 3-year-old fillies which tops a nine-race President's Day card at Aqueduct.

Silvestris, a daughter of Forest Wildcat, was compromised by a slow start when she was beaten 2 1/2 lengths by Oprah Winney in the Randaroo on Dec. 14. Nineteen days later, Silvestris broke sharper, put away Oprah Winney after a half-mile, and easily held Livermore Valley at bay to win by 1 1/4 lengths.

Silvestris has had seven weeks to recover from what was a career-best race, and her trainer, Tom Albertrani, is hopeful of getting a repeat performance in the Dearly Precious.

"The timing worked out good because we were able to give her a breather between then and now and space her races a little bit and keep her fresh,'' Albertrani said.

Albertrani's one concern is that Silvestris's two victories have come in races on wet tracks. There is no rain in the forecast, so a fast track is likely on Monday. Having won the Ruthless, Silvestris will carry top weight of 122 pounds under Eibar Coa from the rail.

Cinnamon Charlie, who is 3 for 3, was a last-minute addition to the field, but trainer Bob Klesaris isn't certain she will run. Cinnamon Charlie got sick after winning a restricted stakes at Laurel in December, and Klesaris said he would like to put one more work into the filly.

Of the remaining runners, Vasa seems the most intriguing upset candidate. Vasa, a daughter of City Zip, has two wins and a second from three starts. She comes off a second-place finish in the Oxford Scholar Stakes on Jan. 29, a race in which she dueled through fast fractions and did well to finish a clear second.

Pure Disco was dueled into defeat by Vasa in the Oxford Scholar, her first start since winning the New Jersey Futurity last November. Ring True, a daughter of Is It True, won her career debut, albeit in a relatively slow time.