07/28/2004 11:00PM

Twixt opens Pimlico meet

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Live racing returns to Maryland for the first time in seven weeks on Saturday when Pimlico opens for a 16-day summer meet.

The nine-race opening-day card features the $100,000 Twixt Stakes, a 1 1/8-mile race on the main track for Maryland-bred 3-year-old fillies.

Following the opening weekend, Pimlico will hold live racing Thursday through Sunday, until the five-week meet ends on Aug. 27.

The remaining three stakes during the meet, all for Maryland-breds on the turf, will be worth $75,000 apiece. They are the Mister Diz, a four-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up on Aug. 7; the All Brandy, a 1 1/8-mile race for fillies and mares on Aug. 14; and the Find Handicap, a nine-furlong race for 3-year-olds and up on Aug. 21.

Ryan Fogelsonger, who won the riding title at the recently completed Colonial Downs meet for the second consecutive year by winning 53 races in 30 days, will begin the Pimlico meet by serving a seven-day suspension for a riding infraction that occurred during Pimlico's spring meet. He will be eligible to resume riding on Aug. 13.

Fogelsonger, 23, has won eight riding titles, including five in a row at Pimlico and Laurel Park in 2002-2003.

In the Twixt, horseplayers must decide whether He Loves Me is a lock because she's dropping substantially in class to face statebreds after winning a Grade 3 stakes in Iowa, or if she is due to bounce because she's coming off back-to-back career-best Beyer Speed Figures.

He Loves Me, trained by Dick Small, won the off-the-turf Pearl Necklace with a 93 Beyer in late May, then returned a month later to capture the Iowa Oaks at Prairie Meadows, earning a 103 Beyer. A repeat of either performance would make her difficult to beat in the Twixt.

Those looking for alternatives to the favorite might want to focus on either Richetta or Pour It On.

Richetta easily defeated He Loves Me in last fall's Maryland Million Lassie, one of four races she won in 2003. She gets some class relief after flashing speed and fading against quality fillies Hopelessly Devoted and Yearly Report in her only two starts this year, both at Delaware Park.

Pour It On is the only horse in the Twixt field to have won at 1 1/8 miles, which she negotiated in last December's Maryland Juvenile Championship at Laurel. She was beaten less than three lengths by He Loves Me in the Pearl Necklace and comes off a wide trip in a route contested over a sloppy track at Colonial.

At a glance: Pimlico

* RACING SCHEDULE: 16 days, July 31 through Aug. 27. No racing Monday-Wednesday

* POST TIME: 1:10 p.m.

* ADMISSIONS: $3 grandstand or clubhouse

* SEATING: Grandstand inside box seats, $2.50; outside box seats, $2.50; Sports Palace, $2.50

* PARKING: $3 valet; $2 clubhouse preferred; free general parking

* LOCATION: 5201 Park Heights Ave., Baltimore, Md.

* SIMULCASTING: Daily except Tuesday.

* PHONE: 410-542-9400

* INTERNET: www.pimlico.com