08/02/2006 11:00PM

Wild Gams will move up in Test

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NEW YORK - Saratoga presents a Grade 1 stakes doubleheader Saturday, when the $750,000 Whitney Handicap and the $250,000 Test Stakes top the action. Elsewhere, Calder Race Course offers two $250,000 events among the four stakes events on its program, the Turf Sprint Championship and the Distaff Turf Sprint Championship; Ellis Park has the biggest day of its meet with the $150,000 Gardenia Handicap being the headliner there; and Del Mar puts the spotlight on 2-year-old fillies in the $150,000 Sorrento.

Test Stakes

Wild Fit was no worse than the second-best 2-year-old filly in the nation last year, and she might have been the divisional champ if not for a bad trip in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, in which she was second by 1 1/2 lengths. If the track is off, Wild Fit will attempt to restart her 3-year-old campaign Saturday, and does so racing around one turn, which is her best game. But Wild Fit, who hasn't raced in five months, is a deep closer when she sprints. That means with 13 other fillies entered in this race, she is going to need a good bit of racing luck.

Wild Gams is my pick off a neck loss last time out in the Prioress at 18-1, and she won't be a lot less than that Saturday. Her effort in the Prioress was a big one considering she couldn't have gotten much off a 26-length defeat in her comeback race two starts back, and that leads me to believe she has another forward move in her. She earned a 101 Beyer Speed Figure last March at 3, and she should be able to do even better now that she is more physically mature. I also like that Wild Gams can stalk from close range or from farther off the pace. That might prove to be an asset for her in this big field.

Turf Sprint Championship Handicap

Gin Rummy Champ was very strong winning the Calder Turf Sprint Handicap last time out, confirming he is in the finest form of his career, and is a solid play to score right back. Gin Rummy Champ has won his last two starts, both at five furlongs at Calder, and he can engineer the same kind of inside-out rallying trip he employed to win going away most recently.

Even with his sharp form, there is hope Gin Rummy Champ will still be a decent price. Atticus Kristy has slightly higher Beyer Speed Figures and is ultra-consistent. Sgt. Bert and Justice for Auston had trouble comments when they were second and fourth in the Calder Turf Sprint Handicap. But Atticus Kristy loses quite a few close decisions, and Sgt. Bert and Justice for Auston weren't going to beat Gin Rummy Champ last time out, even if they got perfect trips.

Gardenia Handicap

Prospective Saint is certainly the mare to beat off her second in last month's quickly run Princess Rooney. But Prospective Saint ran very hard in the Princess Rooney coming off a seven-week layoff, and the career-best 105 Beyer she earned was 8 points higher than her previous high. She is a candidate to regress this time. And while she might have room to regress and still to win, that isn't a chance I want to take with a favorite.

Even though she is a 3-year-old facing older opponents, Maggie Slew is my pick. She has shown vast improvement in her last three starts, winning two, and if she didn't just run out of gas late in the Iowa Oaks last out, she would have won all three. She sports ascending Beyers, will like this slightly shorter distance, and will have perfect early position in this 1 1/2-turn mile event.

Saturday

Calder: Turf Sprint Championship Handicap
3 and up, 5 furlongs, turf

Approximate post: Eastern-3:38 p.m., Central-2:38 p.m., Mountain-1:38 p.m., Pacific-12:38 p.m.; Miami, Fl., forecast: Chance of thunderstorms, 90¦

PPHORSELAST 3 BEYERSODDS
1Bow Out72767730-1
2Gin Rummy Champ9295914-1
3Dirtymoposse59859015-1
4Blue Pepsi Lodge81878630-1
5Nicole's Dream9399923-1
6Atticus Kristy10099965-2
7Whata Soldier8597935-1
8Nacascolo97916415-1
9Sgt. Bert8680858-1
10Justice for Auston8594958-1

Odds by Paul Malecki

Saratoga: Test Stakes
Fillies, 3-years-old, 7 furlongs

Approximate post: E-5:12 p.m., C-4:12 p.m., M-3:12 p.m., P-2:12 p.m.; Saratoga Springs, N. Y., forecast: Sunny, 84¦

PPHORSELAST 3 BEYERSODDS
1Ex Caelis7482-30-1
2Livermore Valley91969120-1
3Misty Rosette87868012-1
4Sabatini8080755-1
5Win McCool85909615-1
6Wild Fit8194855-1
7Hello Liberty8997815-1
8Capote's Crown84101905-1
9Joint Effort52961036-1
10Original Spin77277750-1
11Swap Fliperoo102918510-1
12Ready to Please8794874-1
13Wild Gams97331018-1
14Diplomat Lady86468620-1
15Any Limit96928620-1

Coupled: Sabatini and Wild Fit; odds by Art Gropper

Ellis Park: Gardenia Handicap
Fillies and mares, 3 and up, 1 mile

Approximate post: E-5:57 p.m., C-4:57 p.m., M-3:57 p.m., P-2:57 p.m.; Henderson, Ky., forecast: Partly cloudy, 88¦

PPHORSELAST 3 BEYERSODDS
1Ten Carat Ruby79716015-1
2Maggie Slew9893889-2
3Starry Pie86786615-1
4Plaid79868415-1
5Sea Siren89816112-1
6Island Escape83888720-1
7Fast Navy83857120-1
8Prospective Saint10584978-5
9Beau Watch9395785-1
10Fly Away Angel80908520-1
11Character Builder9387695-1

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