12/11/2008 12:00AM

Sweet Goodbye faces test vs. older males


Sweet Goodbye has reeled off five consecutive victories, each race considerably faster than the previous effort, since trainer Chris Grove put his 3-year-old filly on Lasix for her second career start. But Sweet Goodbye's streak will be severely tested when she challenges older males for the first time and goes up against a horse from the hottest barn on the grounds at Laurel Park.

Trainer Gary Capuano, who has been winning with almost everything he has saddled locally for the past month, will try to derail Sweet Goodbye with his fresh 4-year-old PV Lightening in Saturday's $50,000 Jennings Handicap, a 1 1/16-mile race restricted to Maryland-breds.

Since celebrating his 45th birthday Nov. 14, Capuano has gone 10 for 13 at Laurel, including a 6-for-8 record this month. He brings back PV Lightening following a 14-length defeat as the 6-5 favorite in the Governor's Cup at Charles Town in mid-October. PV Lightening has posted two bullet workouts since then.

"He didn't run very well last time and he came back with an abscess in his foot," Capuano said. "It must have been stinging him in the race because he ran so poorly. He missed a few days of training but is doing well leading up to this spot."

Either of PV Lightening's best races, a win over a sloppy track in the Owners Day Handicap at Delaware Park or a second in last year's Northern Dancer locally, would be sufficient to make him a serious contender in this spot.

Sweet Goodbye beat 3-year-old males last time out in the Northern Dancer. She has yet to regress on the Beyer Speed Figure scale, improving from a 48 to a 93 during her five-race winning streak. But has her elevator hit the top floor? According to DRF's Formulator, Grove is only 1 for 11 with female route horses returning after posting a career-best Beyer. Notably, that one winner was Sweet Goodbye.

Broadway Producer merits respect, even though he is primarily a turf horse who has never finished better than third in five previous tries on dirt.

A winner of the Maryland Million Turf in October, Broadway Producer comes off the best last-race Beyer in the Jennings field, a 100 earned for his third-place finish in an optional claimer at Aqueduct. He also ran well enough to get a 94 Beyer on dirt earlier this season at Belmont Park.