05/29/2004 12:00AM

Slew's Prince takes lone speed role


There's speed, and then there's California speed. At least that's what Slew's Prince will try to prove in Monday's $100,000 Turf Monster Handicap, a five-furlong turf sprint at Philadelphia Park. Fourteen 3-year-olds and up were entered in the Turf Monster, and it appears that 13 of them will have to come from off the pace.

Slew's Prince, trained by Cliff Sise, has won at up to a mile but has true sprint speed and is almost never headed. In his last start, he led all the way in a 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint at Hollywood, opening up by six in the lane and holding on by 3 1/2 lengths.

Take Achance on Me looks like Slew's Prince's main rival - if, that is, he can reproduce his top effort off only nine days' rest. Take Achance on Me comes off one of the best races of his career, a nose loss in the Ben Cohen, a five-furlong turf stakes at Pimlico.

Mountaineer: Royal Spy the class

He sticks out like Smarty Jones in an allowance race. Royal Spy, a Grade 2 winner, towers over his 11 rivals in the Memorial Day Handicap, one of two $75,000 stakes at 7 1/2 furlongs on turf to be run at Mountaineer Park. The Memorial Day is for 3-year-olds and up, and the day's other stakes, the Decoration Day, is for fillies and mares.

Royal Spy won the Grade 2 Maker's Mark Mile at Keeneland last year, defeating Miesque's Approval and eventual Breeders' Cup Mile runner-up Touch of the Blues. Royal Spy nearly won the Maker's Mark again this year April 9, finishing third, a half-length behind Perfect Soul and a neck in back of Burning Roma.

Trained by Tom Amoss, Royal Spy seems to hold all the aces in the Memorial Day: He should get a nice trip behind stretchout sprinter Cat Singer, is the clear class of the field, and has won on this course.

Those with an outside chance of an upset include Adminniestrator, a Southern California invader; Desert Dancer, who ended his season last year with a fifth in the Grade 3 Carey Memorial at Hawthorne and makes his first start of 2004; and Gin and Sin, who won a pair of optional claimers at the Fair Grounds meet.

* In the Decoration Day, Romantic Comedy has a big shot to get her first stakes win. Romantic Comedy comes off a second in an overnight stakes on the Hawthorne turf, a loss that stopped a string of four straight victories.

Delaware: In Hand on improve

In Hand's last two races may have been the best of his career. The question is, what is responsible for In Hand's improvement? Did the 1 1/2-mile distance of those races bring out his best, or is he simply a colt who has found his stride at 4?

The answer should come when In Hand turns back to 1 1/8 miles in the $50,000 Eight Thirty on the Delaware turf.

In his last start, In Hand rallied from far back and was beaten a neck by Art Variety in a Keeneland allowance on the turf. Two starts back, he cruised to a 3 3/4-length victory in an allowance over the Gulfstream turf.

In the Eight Thirty, In Hand takes on such accomplished middle-distance turf runners as Sardaukar and Foufa's Warrior.

Pimlico: Statebreds on turf

He Loves Me, sixth in the open Hilltop Stakes on May 8, returns to the comfort of Maryland-bred company in the $75,000 Pearl Necklace, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies at Pimlico.

He Loves Me's race in the Hilltop was not a true indicator of her ability. She won the Caesar's Wish for statebreds on the Pimlico main track in April, the open Wide Country on the Laurel main track in March, and an allowance on the Fair Grounds turf in December.

Lov'emnrun, who finished three-quarters of a length in front of He Loves Me in the Hilltop, makes her first start in statebred company.