12/11/2003 12:00AM

Two favorites look vulnerable


NEW YORK - Calder Race Course in Miami and Fair Grounds in New Orleans are Saturday's marquee tracks, as both tracks offer stakes-packed programs.

It is Grand Slam I Day at Calder with four stakes races worth $100,000 each, including the What a Pleasure for 2-year-olds and the Three Ring Stakes for 2-year-old fillies. Both races are at 1 1/16 miles, and each is becoming more important with every passing year when it comes to spotlighting coming 3-year-olds with distance ability.

Meanwhile, Saturday is Louisiana Champions Day at Fair Grounds, with 10 races for Louisiana-breds worth a total of $1 million, topped by the $150,000 Classic.

Statebreds also have center stage at Hollywood Park and Hawthorne. California- breds will contest the $100,000 On Trust Handicap at Hollywood, while Illinois-bred 2-year-old fillies go in the $100,000 Illinois Breeders' Debutante at Hawthorne.

There will be a stakes doubleheader Saturday at Aqueduct. In addition to the $75,000 Garland of Roses Handicap, the rescheduled $100,000 Queens County Handicap, which was a victim of last weekend's blizzard, will also be run.

Here are three stakes that caught my eye:

Chaposa Springs Handicap

Chispiski is the likely favorite and the one to catch. Yet, even though she won this race last year, she is vulnerable at the distance, and worth trying to beat. Chispiski almost coughed up a 5 1/2-length lead in the stretch when she barely lasted in the 2002 Chaposa Springs, and she has tougher opposition this time.

I like Keiai Sakura, whose recent form is darkened enough to ensure she will be a good price. Keiai Sakura broke in the air, spotting her field about a five-length headstart in her most recent attempt on dirt, two starts back. She recently returned from a two-month layoff in a tough Grade 2 turf stakes and was competitive to midstretch before tiring. The last time she went turf to dirt, as she is doing here, Keiai Sakura responded with two straight wins, one in an allowance race at Churchill in which she earned a 95 Beyer Speed Figure, which would be very competitive here, and the other in a stakes at Ellis Park, in which she drew away late despite being in a duel from the start.

What a Pleasure

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that Silver Wagon is the class of this field. When he won his maiden at Saratoga, he ran away from Eurosilver, the most talented 2-year-old I've seen this year, and he followed by winning the Grade 1 Hopeful over Chapel Royal, who at the time was the top-ranked 2-year-old in the nation. On the other hand, Eurosilver, who is owned by the same people that own Silver Wagon, was not fully extended when it was clear he wasn't going to win that maiden race, and Chapel Royal has since shown that the seven furlongs of the Hopeful was too far for him.

Now, Silver Wagon comes back off a 3 1/2-month layoff to try two turns for the first time, and as the favorite. He may win, but if he does, I lose. Second of June is my selection.

Second of June was a narrowly beaten second in a similar stakes two starts back, and was easily best of the rest. He maintained that sharp form with an overwhelming allowance win last time out despite being three wide around both turns. Without a lot of speed in this race, Second of June projects to sit a perfect inside-pocket trip just off the pace.

Louisiana Champions Day Sprint

After failing as the favorite in a stakes at Delta Downs last time out, Donna's Mailbag, my pick, suitably shortens up to six furlongs. It was at this distance in a stakes at Louisiana Downs two starts back that Donna's Mailbag decisively beat Zarb's Luck, his main opponent again Saturday.

Although there is a lot of speed in this race, Donna's Mailbag is the main pace presence from the inside. It doesn't hurt that Donna's Mailbag only seems to get emboldened by pace battles.