09/05/2007 11:00PM

Ticket to Seattle finds a spot


Trainer Steve Klesaris originally planned to have Ticket to Seattle begin her comeback in the Grade 3 Victory Ride at Saratoga two weeks ago.

But after taking a look at the lineup of 3-year-old fillies that Ticket to Seattle would have had to face while making her first start since early July, Klesaris decided to stay home at Delaware Park and wait for a better spot.

On Saturday, Ticket to Seattle will test older fillies and mares for the first time in Saturday's Grade 3, $200,000 Endine Handicap. The six-furlong Endine, which goes as race 8, is the feature on a 13-race card that includes two other $100,000 stakes, the George Rosenberger Memorial at 1 1/16 miles on turf and the Owners' Day Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on the main track.

Ticket to Seattle, fourth to division leader Dream Rush in the Grade 1 Prioress at Belmont Park in her last start on July 7, has recorded four bullets in five workouts at Delaware since Aug. 1.

"She has trained very forwardly," Klesaris said. "She has not missed a beat and she is maturing into a nice little filly, so we're optimistic."

Ticket to Seattle will run as a coupled entry with Cajun Mistress, who is winless in five starts this season but has shown an affinity for Delaware Park, where she is 3 for 5. Klesaris won last year's Endine with Miraculous Miss off a 147-day layoff.

The logical favorite in the Endine is G City Gal, a Todd Pletcher-trained 4-year-old who comes off back-to-back thirds in the Grade 2 Honorable Miss at Saratoga and the Grade 2 Princess Rooney at Calder.

Pletcher, however, is only 1 for 10 shipping into Delaware this season and has a less than sterling 2-for-21 record with female sprinters returning from a short layoff in graded stakes the past two seasons.

Two dangerous horses who may offer betting value are Akronism, who endured a troubled trip in Saratoga's Test but earned a 103 Beyer Speed Figure two starts ago in the Jostle at Philadelphia Park, and the 6-year-old Silmaril, a 14-time winner who usually prefers more distance but has won each of the last two times she has raced at six furlongs.

Rosenberger: Tejida gets tested

The front-running filly Tejida seeks her fourth straight win when she steps up to stakes company for the first time in the Rosenberger for fillies and mares on the turf.

Tejida, trained by high-win-percentage trainer Michael Matz, will have to avoid getting caught in a pace battle with two other sharp speedsters, Le Cordon Bleu, winner of two in a row, and Miracle Moment, who has won two of her last three starts.

Owners' Day: Rematch on tap

Awfully Smart and Better Than Bonds, separated by a neck when they met in a high-priced optional claimer a month ago, are rematched in the Owners' Day Handicap.

Both the Owners' Day and the Rosenberger are restricted to horses that have made at least one non-stakes start this meet.

Better Than Bonds, second in each of his last three starts, gets the benefit of a four-pound weight shift since he last faced Awfully Smart, and will carry six pounds less than Awfully Smart on Saturday.

Alvarado no longer Lake's go-to rider

Scott Lake, bidding for his sixth straight Delaware training title, hasn't used the jockey who helped him dominate the local standings since Aug. 25.

Roberto Alvarado Jr. has won 572 races and $11,612,949 for Lake, including 92 races in 2003, 77 in 2004, 100 in 2005, and 77 in 2006.

Lake leads the current standings with 60 winners through Sept. 5. Alvarado, fifth in the Delaware riding standings with 53 winners, is 41 for 196 on Lake-trained runners at the meet but has not ridden a horse for Lake since Aug. 25.

Since then, Lake has spread out his riding assignments at Delaware, primarily using Abel Castellano Jr. and Kendrick Carmouche, but also Jeremy Rose, David Cohen, and apprentice Alexis Freites.

Since changing riders on Aug. 26, Lake had gone 9 for 28 (32 percent) through Sept. 5.