05/06/2009 11:00PM

Whistle Pig may not be at his best


The consistent Pennsylvania-breds Whistle Pig and Jet Away Jane are both back to defend their titles in the Lyman Handicap and the Foxy J.G., the first two stakes of the season, on Saturday at Philadelphia Park. Neither one looks like a sure thing, however.

The deep closer Whistle Pig faces some keen competition from the revitalized former maiden claimer Movin' Out and turf-to-dirt sprinter Night Stand in the seven-furlong, $75,000 Lyman (race 8).

Jet Away Jane, a four-time stakes winner last season, tries to regain her best form against five other fillies and mares, including the razor-sharp Marie Soleil and the once high-class mare Speechifying, in the six-furlong, $75,000 Foxy J.G. (race 7).

The 5-year-old Whistle Pig got a perfect setup last time out in the Vincent Moscarelli Memorial at Delaware Park, thanks to a sub-44-second first half-mile set by a pair of dueling pacesetters. But he failed to fire and could do no better than fourth, raising the question of whether he's not nearly as sharp now as he was when he won the Lyman last May and the seven-furlong Yankee Affair in November.

Of course Whistle Pig finished last of four in his final prep for last year's Lyman. He improved from a 61 Beyer to an 88 in last year's race while making the third start of his form cycle - the same situation he's in Saturday.

Movin' Out has won 5 of 6 starts - all against open company - since he was claimed for $25,000 last October by trainer Keith Lebarron.

Night Stand also looks dangerous making the second start of his form cycle while switching from turf to dirt sprints. His trainer, Jose Gallegos, is 4 for 15 with a $3.18 return on investment in that category, according to DRF's Formulator.

The field also includes Joey Carson, runner-up to Whistle Pig in last year's Lyman, and the speedy Secretintelligence, who hung on for second after dueling through swift fractions in the Moscarelli.

In the Foxy J.G., Jet Away Jane may have lost a step or two at age 6. When she was sharp last season, Jet Away Jane consistently posted Beyer Speed Figures in the low to mid-90s. In contrast, she hasn't broken 75 in her only two starts this season, while facing open company in Maryland.

Marie Soleil soared to a career-best 90 Beyer winning a second-level allowance a month ago, nearly a 30-point move forward from her first two starts of 2009. Her trainer, Scott Lake, is 5 for his last 11 (45 percent, $2.38 ROI) with female sprinters back in 31 to 60 days following a Beyer top.

Speechifying, from the high-percentage barn of Steve Klesaris, was good enough in the fall of 2007 to upset Miraculous Miss in the $250,000 My Juliet. She went only 1 for 4 last season and will be making her first start since October for a barn that's 23 percent with long layoff types the past two years.