05/11/2005 11:00PM

Turf and stakes experience in short supply


Asking a young horse to try a new surface against stakes competition while coming off an 8 1/2-month layoff may sound like too monumental a task.

But don't underestimate trainer Graham Motion, who has given that assignment to the 3-year-old filly Speedy Deedy in Saturday's $75,000 Hilltop Breeders' Cup, a 1 1/16-mile turf race at Pimlico.

Although Speedy Deedy has never raced on grass and has been idle since last August, she could be the value play in a field of eight where nearly every horse is either untested in stakes or on turf.

won 2 of 3 starts at 2, including the one-mile Junior Championship, a race that was moved from the turf to the main track at Monmouth.

Based on pedigree, Speedy Deedy should have an affinity for the turf. Her dam, Delicate Deed, is out of the mare Delicate Ack, whose sire, Big Spruce, was an accomplished turf runner in the early 1970's.

Big Spruce was runner-up to a couple of superstars of that era: Secretariat in the 1973 Canadian International, and Dahlia in the D.C. International that same year.

Motion has had 28 percent success with horses returning from long layoffs the past two years, and is 2 for 7 with runners making their first start on grass in a stakes since January 2002.

The logical favorite in the Hilltop is , one of two fillies from trainer Michael Dickinson's barn. Dynamist finished second in last fall's Caressing over a yielding surface at Churchill Downs. In her only start this year, Dynamist made a middle move to pass three horses and gain two lengths before tiring to finish sixth of eight in the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride at Gulfstream Park.

Dickinson also has entered Rutledge Ballado, who is 2 for 2 at the Hilltop distance but has yet to race on grass.

Besides Dynamist, only three other fillies in the field have won on turf - Wild Chick, Only in Philly, and My Typhoon. It's difficult to separate this trio - their winning Beyers fall in the narrow range of 77 to 80.

My Typhoon will likely attract the most attention. She was heavily favored in both of her starts, an easy maiden win at Saratoga and the Miss Grillo Stakes at Belmont, and comes from the powerful stable of Bill Mott.

Only in Philly, trained by Michael Matz, has won her last two starts, including her only race on grass, which came against allowance runners at Gulfstream.