12/28/2004 12:00AM

Small horse a big favorite


What are the chances trainer Dick Small can sweep the three stakes at Pimlico this week?

Gauging from the track's morning line odds, Small has a big shot to accomplish the feat.

After winning last Sunday's Squan Song with the 3-year-old filly Perilous Night, Small has , the 4-5 early favorite for Thursday's Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship. The $100,000 stakes, restricted to Maryland-breds, was originally scheduled for one mile at Laurel Park, but has been shifted to 1 1/16 miles at Pimlico.

If Small wins Thursday's race, he can complete the trifecta with Legal Control, the 7-2 third choice in Friday's Maryland Juvenile Championship.

Unless post 8 in an eight-horse field proves too wieldy an obstacle, Take a Check should have little problem defeating her opposition in the Juvenile Filly. Her last three Beyer Speed Figures of 70, 72, and 73 are nearly 10 points higher than the best figure any of her opponents have run.

In her last two races, both at 1 1/16 miles, Take a Check finished a head behind Hear Us Roar in the Selima and romped by nearly seven lengths in an allowance. Both of those races were against open company.

The second-best Beyer in the field belongs to Cape Cosmo, who earned a 63 winning her maiden three starts ago. Since then, however, Cape Cosmo has been decisively beaten twice by Take a Check.

Smoking Wise is the lone stakes winner in the field. She overcame post 10 to defeat highly regarded Bluesbdancing in the Snow White, a seven-furlong race run around two turns at Charles Town on Dec. 11. Smoking Wise has also shown an affinity for Pimlico's surface, winning her career debut in a 5 1/2-furlong sprint there by six lengths in August.

Hanalei Bay and Frost Princess are two upset possibilities.

Hanalei Bay encountered traffic trouble early in the Selima, when she finished far behind Take a Check, but responded well to the addition of blinkers in her most recent start and finished third in the six-furlong Toddler. She gets a new rider, Ryan Fogelsonger, for the Juvenile Filly.

Fogelsonger rode Frost Princess last time out, when she was within three lengths of Take a Check at the stretch call of a first-level allowance before fading. She will make the third start of her current form cycle.