10/02/2002 11:00PM

Vague Memory tries to rebound


MIAMI, Fla. - Vague Memory moved to the top of the local filly and mare sprint division following her victory in the Miss Gibson County Stakes on June 16. Then she ran into Xtra Heat.

Vague Memory tried to stay with Xtra Heat in the early stages of the Princess Rooney Handicap before stopping and finishing last in the Grade 2 event. She hasn't been the same since, although trainer Rudy Wolfendale is hoping an equipment change will get Vague Memory back on the right track when she faces five other older fillies and mares in Saturday's $75,000 U Can Do It Handicap.

"Ever since she dueled with Xtra Heat she seems to be hesitant whenever another horse is next to her," said Wolfendale. "So I'm throwing some blinkers on her hoping that will help remedy the problem on Saturday."

Unfortunately for Wolfendale his worst nightmare came true when Vague Memory drew post 1 for the 6 1/2-furlong U Can Do It.

"I'd much rather have her stalking horses from the outside than on the lead," said Wolfendale, who saddled Vague Memory to seven victories and earnings of nearly $200,000 in 2001. "But from down inside we have no choice but to send her."

The pace should be an honest one in the U Can Do It, with Vague Memory likely to get tested early by both Chispiski and Rule Brittania. That may set the race up for closers Sugar N Spice and Dema Dema Dancer.

Sugar N Spice altered her style somewhat in her last start when she contested the pace before drawing away to an easy 5 1/4-length victory over Dema Dema Dancer in the Irish Sonnet Handicap Aug. 25. But the 7-year-old Sugar N Spice has always been most effective from off the pace, as evidenced in her victory in the Goldarama Stakes in her 2002 debut.

Dema Dema Dancer rebounded from her loss in the Irish Sonnet to post a come-from-behind head decision over Fly Me Crazy in a high-priced optional claimer two weeks ago, and appears to be in top form.

Chispiski has won five of her last six starts, including the Roamin Rachel Stakes over a wet track on Sept. 5, but has beaten older horses just once in her career.

Rule Brittania makes her first start since defeating second-level allowance company at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 3, 2001, when she was considered one of the top young filly prospects in the area. She will make her first start for trainer Gary Cortolillo in the U Can Do It.