02/01/2007 12:00AM

Sprint rivals rematched


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Trainer Rick Violette said he thought his High Finance should have beaten Kelly's Landing four weeks ago in the Grade 3 Mr. Prospector Handicap. Violette will get to test that theory on Saturday when the pair hook up again in the $100,000 Deputy Minister Handicap at Gulfstream Park.

The 6 1/2-furlong Grade 3 Deputy Minister drew a highly competitive field of five, rounded out by the explosively fast Keyed Entry, graded stakes winner Sir Greeley, and recent allowance winner Nar.

High Finance finished a troubled second, 1 1/4 lengths behind Kelly's Landing, going six furlongs in the Mr. Prospector. High Finance was pinned in tight on the rail for much of the trip before finally extricating himself in late stretch to nip Mach Ride for second.

High Finance, who forced the early pace in the 2006 Belmont Stakes, has won 3 of 10 career starts with each of his victories coming by a margin of five lengths or more. He is winless since capturing his second-level allowance condition at Saratoga last August.

"He was tight near the inside fence and never had a free step for the final five-sixteenths of a mile," Violette said of High Finance's trip in the Mr. Prospector. "And when he finally got loose at the wire he drew off five lengths clear of the winner galloping out. With any luck he surely would have been an easier second and very probably could have won."

Kelly's Landing worked out a perfect trip under Edgar Prado to win the Mr. Prospector, bouncing back from a 10th place finish in the Breeders' Cup Sprint.

Sir Greeley looms a dangerous opponent turning back in distance off a game second behind Chatain in the one-mile Hal's Hope Handicap here on Jan. 6. Sir Greeley, who is effective at distances from six furlongs to a mile, was Grade 1 stakes-placed in 2006.

Keyed Entry won the first three starts of his career, including the Grade 2 Hutcheson over a wet track here one year ago, but has not started since finishing last in the Grade 2 Dwyer Handicap on July 4. He breezed a bullet five furlongs in 59 seconds on Monday at Palm Beach Downs.