04/20/2006 12:00AM

Smuggler, Grecian Lover looking rosy


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - They will run the $150,000 Bed o' Roses Breeders' Cup Handicap for the 50th time on Saturday. If this one goes like many of the previous 49 have, the winner figures to be either Grecian Lover or Smuggler.

Allen Jerkens, the trainer of Grecian Lover, has won this race seven times. Shug McGaughey, the trainer of Smuggler, has won it twice, including last year with Pleasant Home, who last fall pulled off an upset in the Breeders' Cup Distaff.

It doesn't hurt that Grecian Lover and Smuggler happen to be two of the best fillies in the Grade 2 race. A field of seven was entered for the Bed o' Roses, which is run at seven furlongs over Aqueduct's main track. A forecast that calls for rain could also play a role in who runs.

is the reigning 3-year-old filly champion, but could be vulnerable in her first start since winning the Coaching Club American Oaks last July. She had a series of ailments that forced her to miss the remainder of her 3-year-old season.

Smuggler first got sick at Saratoga while preparing for the Alabama. In the fall, she got sick again to the point where she needed to be sent to an equine clinic to clean out an intestinal impaction.

"Ever since we got her back and took her to Florida, everything's sort of a go," McGaughey said. "This isn't her best distance, but she's doing fine. It's a way to get her back."

Smuggler has never run on an off track, but her mother, Inside Information, won three Grade 1 stakes by an average of 10 lengths over wet tracks, including the BC Distaff. Smuggler breaks from post 7 under Edgar Prado and high weight of 122 pounds.

is only 3 for 20, but her last two races - both since she was moved to Jerkens - have been her best. On March 3, she was beaten less than a length by Dubai Escapade, who came back to win the Grade 2 Madison Stakes at Keeneland. On March 23, Grecian Lover won a second-level allowance at Gulfstream by almost four lengths.

"The first race was better than her last race," said Jerkens, who has won the Bed o' Roses at least once in each of the last five decades.

Great Intentions won the Grade 2 First Flight Handicap at seven furlongs last fall, but would prefer a dry track. Magnolia Jackson and Annika Lass finished a half-length apart when second and third, respectively, in the Distaff Breeders' Cup Handicap. Trickle of Gold and Slew Motion look like pace factors.