08/18/2005 12:00AM

Three look serious contenders if Procreate falters in Mister Diz


Although the first three finishers from last year's Mister Diz Stakes are back for the race Saturday at Pimlico, they all might be running for second money if Procreate shows up with his "A" game.

The 7-year-old Procreate, who raced for a $2,500 claiming price three years ago, has been a sensational reclamation project for trainer John Zimmerman. Since coming under Zimmerman's care last year, Procreate has won six races, set a world record for five furlongs on turf at Gulfstream Park, and captured the Claiming Crown's Rapid Transit for grass sprinters.

But racing at his home track, Penn National, Procreate failed to display his usual early zip last time out in the Pennsylvania Governor's Cup and was no match for the sizzling Tacirring, possibly the best older turf sprinter in the Mid-Atlantic region this summer.

If he runs in the five-furlong Mister Diz, Procreate will be coming back on just two weeks' rest and carrying co-high weight of 124 pounds.

If you believe Procreate isn't ready to run his best, then Yankee Wildcat, Nortouch, and Quest of Fate loom as dangerous contenders.

Yankee Wildcat won last year's Mister Diz by 3 1/2 lengths, one of four victories the 7-year-old gelding has registered on Pimlico's turf course. Most recently, Yankee Wildcat flashed speed and tired over a yielding surface on Calder's Summit of Speed program. The winner that day, Southern Cal, and the sixth-place horse, Whenthedoveflies, both returned to win minor stakes next time out.

Nortouch was second to Yankee Wildcat in this race a year ago and beat him by a neck when they met again two weeks later. Nortouch could be ready for a peak effort in the third start of his form cycle.

Turf sprint specialist Quest of Fate is 4 for 8 on Pimlico's turf, but has gone 0 for 7 since winning a minor stakes at Monmouth Park in July 2004.

The value play could be Mr Mutter, a 4-year-old who has won back-to-back sprints since he was first tried on the turf by trainer King Leatherbury in mid-May.

Delaware: Two from Brandywine back

The Lady's Groom, winner of a similar overnight stakes two starts ago, and Separato, narrowly beaten in a pair of $100,000 races earlier at the meet, head a group of older horses going 1 1/16 miles in the $55,000 Gate Dancer at Delaware Park.

The 5-year-old The Lady's Groom is 4 for 11 lifetime at Delaware, including a nose victory in a nine-furlong overnight stakes on May 30. He has been freshened by trainer Mike Gorham since fading to last in the Brandywine Handicap in mid-June. Three horses came out of the Brandywine to finish first or second the next time out, earning Beyer Speed Figures of between 95 and 99.

Separato, 5 for 11 in his career at Delaware, finished well ahead of The Lady's Groom in the $100,000 Brandywine, closing from far off the pace to miss by a neck. He tried to make a similar move in the $100,000 R.R.M. Carpenter Memorial Handicap, run over a sloppy track, and made up all but 1 3/4 lengths of an 11-length deficit.

Andiamo finished far behind The Lady's Groom when they met in May, but gets Lasix for the first time in this spot. Trainer Mike Zwiesler shows high success with that angle the past two years.

Play Bingo, a five-time winner as a 3-year-old last season, is 0 for 3 this year but has been beaten by less than a length in each of his last two starts and has been first or second in three previous races over Delaware's main track.