11/09/2006 1:00AM

Sweetnorthernsaint the big draw


A surprise appearance by Preakness runner-up Sweetnorthernsaint has stirred up excitement in the waning days of Delaware Park's 2006 meet.

Sweetnorthernsaint, who has raced just once since finishing 5 1/4 lengths behind probable 3-year-old champion Bernardini in the May 20 Preakness, showed up among the entries for Saturday's 1 1/16-mile Odessa, an overnight stakes worth a modest $54,000, on the next-to-last weekend of Delaware's season.

Maryland-based trainer Mike Trombetta said the Odessa, restricted to 3-year-olds, is likely to be Sweetnorthernsaint's final race this season. When asked what race he has in mind for the Florida-bred Sweetnorthernsaint after the Odessa, Trombetta said "We have a few, one of which is possibly the Sunshine Millions, but for now that is it."

The $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic, a 1o1/8-mile race for Florida-breds and California-breds, will be run Jan. 25 at Gulfstream Park.

In his first outing following a five-month layoff, Sweetnorthernsaint defeated two overmatched opponents in a seven-furlong optional claiming race at Laurel Park on Oct. 19. Although he easily won by 4 1/2 lengths, Sweetnorthernsaint's Beyer Speed Figure came back light, 85, 20 points lower than he earned for his Preakness performance.

Nevertheless, jockey Ramon Dominguez said he felt Sweetnorthernsaint ran well.

"He got something out of it, even though he wasn't pushing himself a whole lot," Dominguez said.

Trombetta was also satisfied the comeback accomplished its objective.

"I wanted to get a race under him, and I didn't want it to be a big one," Trombetta said. "I didn't want to do too much. He did that fairly easily."

Among the six 3-year-olds who will challenge Sweetnorthernsaint in the Odessa are Master of Disaster, winner of a pair of minor stakes this season but outclassed in two graded stakes, and Cavallo Pazzo, who will be racing beyond six furlongs for the first time after posting back-to-back wins with 90-plus Beyer Figures off a 10-month layoff.

Mountaineer: Confucius Say sharp

The well-accomplished Confucius Say will travel from one corner of West Virginia to the other for the $125,000 Mountaineer Mile at Mountaineer Race Track.

The 8-year-old Confucius Say is based at Charles Town, where he most recently dominated the $190,000 Onion Juice with a 101 Beyer. It was his first stakes win since he captured the West Virginia Breeders Classic for the second time in October 2002.

Ten other older horses will challenge Confucius Say, most prominently the 6-year-old Hi Time Scott and 5-year-olds Sinister G and Forest Park.

The Maryland-based Hi Time Scott has reeled off four consecutive victories, highlighted by the $100,000 Charles Hadry at Laurel.

The Scott Lake-trained Sinister G has set the pace and faded in his last three starts, all in stakes. He was the beaten favorite in the Hadry and last month's HPBA Governor's Cup at Charles Town.

Forest Park, based at Delaware Park with Mike Pino, has been freshened since September, when he won back-to-back seven-furlong allowance races in fast time at Charles Town.