06/28/2006 11:00PM

Soft-turf ability key in Penny

Adam Coglianese / NYRA
Pommes Frites (right), winning the Beaugay, was second in the Just a Game on yielding turf.

Handicapping this weekend's stakes features at Philadelphia Park and Delaware Park could be more complicated than usual because of the possibility the races will be contested over soft turf or moved to the main track.

Several days' worth of heavy rain, which included 3.1 inches falling in the Wilmington, Del., region on Tuesday and extensive flooding in five counties surrounding Philadelphia, created uncertainty whether the Philly and Delaware turf courses would be fit for racing by Saturday.

If the fields remain intact and the races can be run on grass, both the $100,000 Dr. James Penny Memorial Handicap for fillies and mares at Philadelphia Park and the $75,000 Denise Rhudy Memorial for 3-year-old fillies at Delaware Park will feature some accomplished stakes runners.

The 1 1/16-mile Penny is led by Grade 3 winners Pommes Frites and Ozone Bere.

Pommes Frites, a 4-year-old trained by Bill Mott, wired seven rivals in the Grade 3 Beaugay Handicap at Aqueduct and nearly repeated the feat June 10, when she was caught at the wire by Gorella in the Grade 2 Just a Game at Belmont. Pommes Frites's performance in the Just a Game was significant because it was contested over yielding turf, and similar conditions could exist at Philly on Saturday.

Ozone Bere, who finished nearly 7 1/2 lengths behind Pommes Frites in the Just a Game, twice won over soft ground in France. Her best performance in the United States was an off-the-pace victory over 12 horses in the Grade 3 Gallorette at Pimlico.

Marchonin also appears dangerous. Although her only previous turf stakes victory came in a restricted race at Calder last winter, Marchonin closed well in the Grade 3 Hillsborough at Tampa Bay, covering her final three furlongs in 34.60 seconds, and she shows two good races over less-than-firm turf.

If the race gets moved to the main track, Summer Rainbow would become a standout. A 5-year-old mare trained by Graham Motion, Summer Rainbow is 7 for 17 with $220,280 in earnings over fast tracks.

Delaware: Ebony Rose dangerous on turf

Ebony Rose appears to be the filly to beat if the 1 1/16-mile Denise Rhudy remains on the grass at Delaware.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, Ebony Rose won the Hilltop Breeders' Cup over a yielding course at Pimlico two starts ago, but came up empty when she had to carry an additional seven pounds in the Late Bloomer at Belmont last time out. She is assigned 122 pounds for Saturday, one less than she carried in the Late Bloomer but six pounds more than she carried in the Hilltop.

Pletcher is always dangerous at Delaware, where his horses are 9 for 29 (31 percent) this season.

Also proven over less-than-firm turf are Royal Descent, who beat statebreds in the Pearl Necklace over a yielding course at Pimlico in early June, and Christmas Stocking, who won the Cherokee Frolic over a course labeled good at Calder last winter. Christmas Stocking finished 7 1/4 lengths behind Royal Descent after setting the pace in the Pearl Necklace.

The filly to beat if the race is moved to the main track could be Lady of Clare, who has been first or second in 4 of 7 starts over fast tracks.

Colonial: It's Just a Dream tests older horses

It's Just a Dream, runner-up against open stakes company in her most recent race, figures to be favored when she faces Virginia-bred fillies and mares in the $60,000 Brookmeade, a 1 1/16-mile race over the inner turf at Colonial Downs.

A 3-year-old, It's Just a Dream will be meeting older horses for the first time, but her most recent Beyer Speed Figure of 83 fits well in this field. She came from off the pace to finish second over a yielding course in the Hilltop BC at Pimlico.

Two others with a shot at a price are Miswes and Elsie Lucille.

Miswes, listed at 20-1 on the track's morning line, is unraced this season, but ran third in last year's Brookmeade following a long layoff and has been first or second in 6 of 10 starts on grass.

Elsie Lucille (10-1) is more accomplished on dirt, but ran well to finish third in a one-mile optional claimer against open company at Louisiana Downs in her only race on grass.