Updated on 09/15/2011 1:10PM

Sunlit Ridge takes on her elders


EAST BOSTON, Mass. - Sunlit Ridge, a homebred owned by Manfred Roos, is the undisputed leader of New England's 3-year-old filly turf division and also the best Massachusetts-bred sophomore of any gender. On Saturday, she will take on open older fillies and mares in the $25,000 Highland Happening Stakes. The 1 1/16-mile turf race attracted an overflow field of 14, including several shippers, but only 10 will run.

Sunlit Ridge made a successful switch to the turf for the one-mile Boston Common Stakes here in May and she's been all turf since then as she's won five of her last six starts. Included in that streak were victories in the Beacon Hill against the boys and in the Rockingham Oaks. Trained by John Rigattieri, Sunlit Ridge scored her last two wins over older allowance company but she hasn't been to the races for nearly two months.

"We freshened her up for this race and she has been training very well for her return," Rigattieri said. "This filly always gives her best and I can't ask for more than that."

Sunlit Ridge is noted for her tactical speed. Being fresh off a layoff she will be close to the pace, but her task will be complicated with the appearance of several ship-ins, including Minkie and Runagate.

Because of her consistent record, Minkie is the one to beat. Trained by Mike Moran, the 4-year-old Minkie was third in the $100,000 New Castle Handicap on Delaware's turf course two starts back and she also has a pair of allowance wins in the five starts she's made this year. Her five career wins have all been on the lawn.

Four-year-old Runagate moves intro the stakes ranks for the first time but she has won three times this year and has been out of the money only once in 11 starts. She scored over conditioned allowance company at Philadelphia Park last out.

Dancerosydance upset Rock's Graf Memorial at 21-1, coming from just off the pace for her first win of the year. In that race she finished a length in front of Big Miss, who returns Saturday.

Fillies and mares will also be featured in Monday's $25,000 Columbus Day Stakes at six furlongs.