09/20/2006 11:00PM

Three-way rematch in Schapiro


Ashkal Way, Dreadnaught, and Interpatation, who finished within a length of each other as the top three horses in last month's Grade 2 Bernard Baruch Handicap at Saratoga, are poised for a rematch in Saturday's $200,000 John Schapiro Memorial Breeders' Cup Handicap at Laurel Park.

Like the Baruch on Aug. 26, the Schapiro will be contested at 1 1/8 miles on turf.

The Irish-bred Ashkal Way, owned by Godolphin Racing and trained by Saeed bin Suroor, deserves to be favored. He has won 4 of 5 starts since coming to North America. His only blemish is a second in the Grade 2 Fourstardave Handicap at Saratoga, a race in which he had little pace to set up his closing kick.

Rick Mettee, a Godolphin assistant, said the slightly longer distance of the Schapiro is the main reason Ashkal Way will run in Maryland this weekend instead of the Grade 2, $250,000 Kelso at Belmont on Sept. 30.

"Nine furlongs, that's why I'm running there," Mettee said. "I just think you're more at the mercy of pace in a mile race. At a mile and an eighth he doesn't need everything to set up his way."

The pace in the Schapiro figures to be set by either Fishy Advice, a front-running winner last time out in the $200,000 Caesar Rodney at Delaware, or the aptly named Speed Whiz, a 5-year-old who has made the first 35 starts of his career on dirt.

Dreadnaught finished a neck behind Ashkal Way when they met four weeks ago, but there are reasons to believe the tables could be turned.

Dreadnaught, a 6-year-old trained by Tom Voss, figures to move forward in his second start following a layoff, and he won the Laurel Turf Cup in his only previous race over the course.

Voss said he's not thrilled about having to face Ashkal Way again.

"That horse beat us pretty well in the Baruch, although it was only a neck," Voss said. "It sure would be better for us if they don't show up."

Interpatation came from last to finish third in the Baruch. He covered the final three furlongs in a swift 33.80 seconds and earned a career-best 99 Beyer Speed Figure.

Interpatation is cross-entered in the $100,000 Larry Riviello President's Cup at Philadelphia Park.

o Female turf sprint specialist Nicole's Dream will face a tough group of males that includes world -record holder Procreate and the speedy 3-year-old gelding Smart Enough in the $60,000 Battle of the Sexes Turf Handicap.

The five-furlong invitational (race 9) drew a field of 13, three of them females. The 6-year-old Nicole's Dream is 20 for 35 in short turf sprints. Based in Chicago with trainer Larry Rivelli, she has won her last four starts, including stakes against males at Calder and Arlington.

Procreate, an 8-year-old gelding, owns the world record for five furlongs on turf, set in 2005 at Gulfstream Park. He ended a 13-month winless drought last month and is 2 for 2 since Rosie Napravnik became his rider.

Smart Enough is 4 for 5 lifetime, all on turf, but has not raced since taking the one-mile Lamplighter at Monmouth in early July.

- additional reporting by David Grening