08/06/2003 11:00PM

Sue's Good News set to bounce back


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Saturday's Singapore Plate Stakes takes its name from Arlington Park's far-flung international ties. The race itself is quintessentially American.

Here is a melting pot of three former claimers, two Illinois-breds, and a horse based at tiny Fairmount Park. Not included in that hodgepodge is Sue's Good News, quite probably the best filly in the race, but a horse carrying baggage right now.

In all, a field of nine was entered in the $100,000 Singapore Plate, a Grade 3, nine-furlong race restricted to 3-year-old fillies. Give Sue's Good News a second chance after her disappointing run last month in the Delaware Oaks and you may have lit on a winner. Otherwise, the race is thrown wide open.

Sue's Good News, owned by Cresran and trained by Steve Hobby, made her debut this winter at Oaklawn and won her first four starts, but her career hit some bumps in late spring. She missed one scheduled stakes race with a minor illness, and another when she tied up after a routine morning workout. A 3-1 shot July 19 in the $500,000 Delaware Oaks, Sue's Good News was listless warming up for the race and disinterested during it. Hobby is convinced she tied up again.

Tying up is like biochemical stage fright. A horse gets too nervous or excited before or during exercise, the chemical process using lactic acid to work the muscles gets disrupted, and a horse experiences a severe cramping effect.

"They're not burning up carbohydrates like they should," said Hobby, a veteran horseman well accustomed to dealing with fillies that tie up. "Diet is a big part of it, and what's recommended is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet. There's a feed made strictly for that, and we put her on it right after Delaware. I've tried that feed before, and horses wouldn't eat it, but she dives right in."

Sue's Good News worked a solid five furlongs last weekend, and Hobby thinks the cooler weather forecast for Saturday will help avert a repeat of the Delaware debacle. Even so, he said, "The horse we have to worry about most in there is our own."

If bettors properly respect Keeping the Gold, they will make her the second choice behind Sue's Good News despite the fact she's faced Illinois-breds in five of six starts. Keeping the Gold moved into open company here July 19 and beat the solid filly Souris in an overnight handicap, earning a start in the Singapore Plate, which will be her first two-turn race of the season.