08/02/2001 11:00PM

Step With Style appears too strong for Spicy field


SALEM, N.H. - Step With Style was an impressive winner on July 4 when she cruised to victory here in the $75,000 Rockingham Park Breeders' Cup. Sunday, she will attempt to become the fifth horse to sweep New England's two richest races for fillies and mares when she comes back to top a field of nine in the $100,000 Spicy Living Sweepstakes Handicap.

Step With Style, a Moyglare Stud Farm homebred, is the 117-pound topweight in the Spicy Living, which will be decided at about nine furlongs on the turf. Josiah Hampshire Jr. will ride.

Step With Style totes two pounds more than she carried to a 1 1/2-length win over favored Song for Annie in the Rock BC, which was decided at 1 1/16 miles.

The manner in which she swept past her field through the stretch and the weaker company she finds in the Spicy Living makes it difficult to pick against Step With Style.

Step with Style was kept far off the pace in the BC and didn't begin her winning run until she hit the far turn. But she was in full stride by the time she hit the top of the stretch and she ran clear the final sixteenth for her third win from four starts this year.

She picked up her first win of the year in Suffolk's My Fair Lady Stakes under 119 pounds. That was her first race in this country after racing last year in Ireland, where she had a maiden win out of four starts.

Among the other contenders, Shopping for Love has amassed the most earnings on the turf, but Not for Love filly has just one win over the surface. That came in Oc-tober's $150,000 Ticonderoga Handicap at Belmont against New York-breds at the Spicy Living distance.

This year, Shopping for Love has a pair of seconds in four starts, but one of those placings came in the Just a Game Breeders' Cup, when she missed by a neck after a mile in 1:32.60.

Verruma was runner-up to Quidnaskra in Delaware's Rose-anna Stakes in her first start of the year but she rebounded with a nose win in a nine-furlong allowance at Belmont.