02/19/2009 12:00AM

Top two both in off career top Beyers


All Smiles responded to a change of riders and Hello Poochi Pooh got loose on the lead to produce the best Beyer Speed Figures of their careers last time out. But can bettors count on either one to duplicate that performance going longer in Saturday's $50,000 Maryland Racing Media Handicap at Laurel Park?

All Smiles and Hello Poochi Pooh both figure to be low odds in a field of just five fillies and mares set to go 1 1/8 miles in Laurel's eighth race.

The 6-year-old All Smiles finished 3 1/2 lengths in front of runner-up Cryptoquip in last year's Maryland Racing Media Handicap, but was disqualified and placed second for interference in the upper stretch. That became part of a 12-race losing streak from October 2007 until Jan. 24, when she rallied under new jockey Dale Beckner to get up by a neck at 19-1 in the one-mile Nellie Morse.

The 88 Beyer that All Smiles earned was the best of her 21-race career. Now she is asked to run 1 1/8 miles, a distance at which she is 0 for 3 lifetime.

Hello Poochi Pooh looks tempting as the lone speed and the 112-pound lightweight in a short field. But this represents a big step up in class and a much longer distance for a sprinter who was running for a $16,000 claiming tag in Florida last summer and was just 2 for 19 lifetime until her 9o1/2-length wire-to-wire romp in a first-level allowance a month ago. Her 87 Beyer was by far the best of her career.

On the plus side, trainer John Alecci shows a 3-for-9 record with fillies and mares returning in 31 to 60 days off a Beyer top, according to DRF's Formulator.

For those seeking a viable alternative to the two likely favorites, the 6-year-old For Kisses is worth a look. Last season, she won a minor two-turn stakes at Monmouth Park and finished third in the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie.

Although dull in her return from a two-month layoff in the Nellie Morse, For Kisses shows two sharp workouts this month. Her trainer, Richard Small, is 9 for 34 in routes with fillies and mares making the second start of their form cycle.