05/12/2004 11:00PM

Sweettrickydancer long overdue


MIAMI - As a 2-year-old, Sweettrickydancer was the dominant member of the south Florida filly and mare turf division. But after winning the Tropical Oaks to celebrate her third birthday on Jan. 1, 2003, Sweettrickydancer suddenly went off form.

Sweettrickydancer's losing streak has stretched to eight straight races since her victory in the Tropical Oaks. But her recent performances give every indication that drought will finally end Saturday when she is part of a full field of fillies and mares in the $40,000 Liberada Handicap at Calder.

Sweettrickydancer did not even hit the board in her final six starts at 3, all of which came against stakes competition. But she returned from a brief freshening with a strong third-place finish under optional claiming conditions on March 5 at Gulfstream. Sweettrickydancer was beaten less than a length that afternoon by Meridiana, who has since come back to win both the Orchid Handicap and the Bewitch Stakes.

Sweettrickydancer earned a career-high 89 Beyer Speed Figure in her 2004 debut, then matched that number when she rallied from far back to finish third, two lengths behind the multiple stakes winner Stay Forever, in the Hollywood Wildcat Breeders' Cup earlier this month. A late-running filly, Sweettrickydancer figures to have plenty of pace to run at in the Liberada with speedsters Gypsy Dot, Dandy Rose, and Improvised in the lineup.

Only the stewards were able to beat Improvised during the 2003-2004 Tampa Bay Downs meet, where she finished first in all eight of her starts only to lose the most important of those victories via a disqualification in the Turf Distaff Stakes on April 4. Trained by William Houle during that amazing streak, Improvised has been transferred to Gregory Griffith's barn.

A lively pace scenario could also play into the hands of Russian Sweetiepie, who finished eighth, six lengths behind Sweettrickydancer, in the Hollywood Wildcat. That outing was the first for the stretch-running Russian Sweetiepie since she finished second behind the graded stakes winner Binya in a third-level allowance in her 2004 debut on Jan. 16. The 90 Beyer she earned for that performance is the highest this year by any member of the Liberada lineup.

Askforaraise is another late threat in this field if she is able to return to her top form. She was purchased privately by the Stronach Stable and has been turned over to trainer Randy Bradshaw since her last start.

Formal Miss finished an even fifth in the Hollywood Wildcat and will add blinkers.