02/21/2006 12:00AM

Sprint stakes not lacking in speedsters

Email

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Questions of pace, distance, footing, and current form make Thursday's $60,000-added Flip's Pleasure Stakes a treacherous handicapping exercise.

The overnight sprint drew 10 older fillies and mares, and the early pace will be swift.

The fleetest of the fleet is Pretty Imposing. Since returning from a long layoff last summer, the gray speedball has raced six times at six furlongs, and six times she has led at the pace call by open lengths, including a win on the inner track against third-level allowance rivals on Jan. 6. She ran back just 10 days later in the Dixie Flag and squandered a lengthy lead in deep stretch.

has had more than five weeks off since failing to close the deal in the Dixie Flag, and she figures to make things tough on the front end for Hostility, a speedy shipper from Philadelphia Park, and Speed Bag, who is coming off the two best races of her career when she was able to get the early lead.

also looks to rebound from a disappointing effort. She returned from a freshening to post a front-running win in a muddy renewal of the Interborough Handicap, but was finished early after chasing Pretty Imposing in the Dixie Flag soon afterward.

"I think I ran her back too quick," said trainer Carlos Martin. "She's much better than that."

Among those Comacina beat in the Interborough were Bank Audit, the even-money favorite, and Amazing Buy, the 3-1 second choice. The connections of each can point to the sealed muddy track as a legitimate excuse, because neither has ever shown an affinity for off going, and they are back for another go-round.

shows just one short published workout for her first start in over seven weeks, raising the possibility that she may need this race for conditioning purposes.

As she is coming off a recent route, there is no question Amazing Buy is fit. The questions are whether she can win at six furlongs for the first time since her maiden victory, and whether she can chase and overtake the projected pace.

All of the above could be rendered moot if Great Intentions, winner of the Grade 2 First Flight Handicap in her last start on a fast track, picks this spot to return to top form. Following the First Flight, she failed to handle a sealed track in Santa Anita's La Brea, and then had a tough trip in the Correction Handicap on a good track at 3-5 last out.

Also in the field are Traci Girl, Schemer, and Storm Minstrel.