09/20/2007 12:00AM

Stay Close ships in for easier spot

EmailStay Close, scratched out of a tougher spot last weekend, will ship to Maryland, where he usually runs extremely well, for Saturday's $100,000 John Schapiro Memorial Breeders' Cup Handicap at Laurel Park.

A 5-year-old gelding based at Delaware Park with trainer Michael Zwiesler, Stay Close was pulled from the lineup for last Saturday's $200,000 Larry Riviello President's Cup at Philadelphia Park. Instead, Stay Close breezed five furlongs in 1:02.20 on Monday at his home track.

Aside from three ambitious attempts against Grade 2 company, Stay Close has been consistent, winning 4 of 5 starts since January, including the one-mile Henry Clark at Pimlico in late April. In his only race at Laurel, Stay Close got up by a neck in an optional claimer last November.

The sharp horse moving up in class is Sensational Humor, a 4-year-old stabled in New York with trainer Thomas Bush. Despite needing 11 starts to win his maiden, Sensational Humor came right back to handle winners. That win, on Aug. 4 at Saratoga, turned out to be a key race. The runner-up, War Monger, returned to beat first-level allowance runners with a 96 Beyer Speed Figure. Seventh-place finisher Touchdown Peyton won a two-mile race on dirt in his next start.

Bastille is back to defend his title in the Schapiro, but he is winless in seven starts since then, including three races in Maryland.

Jungle Fighter and Yate's Black Cat would be contenders if they run. Jungle Fighter was cross-entered in Friday night's Grade 3 Cliff Hanger at the Meadowlands. Yate's Black Cat is cross-entered in Saturday's Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Turf at Kentucky Downs.