05/24/2006 11:00PM

Sweet Aloe steps up while hot


MIAMI - After going winless in her first nine career starts, Sweet Aloe has suddenly turned into a killer, winning her last two outings by a combined 14 lengths. On Saturday, will get a class check when she goes off among the favorites in the second division of Calder's $45,000 Sara's Success Stakes, an overnight event for fillies and mares at 7 1/2 furlongs on the turf.

Trainer David Fawkes said he's not exactly sure what transformed Sweet Aloe, a Sandpit filly, from a maiden into a stakes contender over the past five weeks. But he is looking for her to run another big race in the Sara's Success.

"The only thing I can think of after talking with the owner is that the Sandpits seem to get better as they get older," said Fawkes, who trains Sara's Success for the Ananke Stable.

"I gave her a little time off last fall at Calder, and since she's returned she just started doing better and better," he said. "She's super right now. It's always tough to jump from a first-level allowance race into stakes company, [but] at least it looks like we've caught the weaker of the two divisions, and I think she will run big again."

Sweet Aloe earned a career-best 89 Beyer Speed Figure winning her last start on May 13, a number that would be good enough to win her split of the Sara's Success if she can duplicate it under regular rider Daniel Centeno.

Sweet Aloe is likely to receive her stiffest opposition from .

Pattiano is a multiple stakes-placed mare who ran one of the best races of her career last month at Tampa Bay Downs when beaten less than a length despite trouble in the Turf Distaff Stakes. Trained by Reed Combest, the stretch-running filly showed some improved speed when she worked five furlongs in 58.20 seconds around the dogs here earlier this week.

Mercy Matters has finished worse than third just once in her last eight starts, but will be stepping up to stakes company for the first time on Saturday.

Silversider has won two straight starts, including the restricted Georgia Oaks Stakes, in which she dead-heated for the win with El Bank Robber.

The first division of the Sara's Success is led by Formal Miss, a consistent mare who has held her own against top competition over the last several years but who enters the race winless since 2004. Formal Miss, 6, finished a good second behind the pacesetting Potra Clasica in the Hollywood Breeders' Cup Handicap here on April 29.

Ragtime Hope, a tiring seventh after forcing the pace in the Hollywood Breeders' Cup, is among the other leading contenders in a field that also includes R Lady Joy, a Grade 2 winner at 3 who will be making her turf debut if she runs in the Sara's Success.