03/27/2003 1:00AM

'Soldier' rates upset chance


Sky Soldier has won his only two starts by a combined margin of eight lengths. But because he's based at Penn National and has never been beyond six furlongs, Sky Soldier won't attract much attention when he ships to Laurel Park for Saturday's $60,000 Private Terms Stakes at 1 1/16 miles.

A 3-year-old colt trained by Todd Beattie, Sky Soldier may offer some betting value in a race with just five betting interests. He's listed as the 6-1 outsider on the track's morning line.

A year ago, Beattie had a promising 3-year-old in his barn named Calends. Like Sky Soldier, Calends won his first two starts and was then sent out of town for a stakes race. Calends has proven to be a useful horse, but he's strictly a sprinter. Sky Soldier, however, has the pedigree to handle longer distances. He is a son of Unaccounted For, who won the 1 1/8-mile Jim Dandy at age 3, the 1 1/8-mile Whitney at age 4, and placed in two other Grade 1 stakes at 1 1/4 miles.

So it's not at all far-fetched to foresee that 1 1/16 miles is well within Sky Soldier's scope. He will again be ridden by Philadelphia Park-based jockey Rodrigo Madrigal Jr.

The clear-cut horse to beat in the Private Terms is Penobscot Bay, who has yet to finish worse than third in four career races. He will be making his first start since finishing second, earning a 96 Beyer Speed Figure, in the Feb. 8 Miracle Wood at Laurel. Trainer Rodney Jenkins has added blinkers for Penobscot Bay's comeback race.

Skycrossing, who failed to fire in the Miracle Wood, looked sharp when he returned five weeks later to crush first-level allowance foes.

"I haven't been on him since November but I have liked him since before he started running," said Skycrossing's jockey, Ryan Fogelsonger. "I think he has a good shot."

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