08/14/2002 11:00PM

Xtra Heat could add extra spark


Sept. 7 was already designated as a special date at Delaware Park. Three stakes, all worth at least $100,000, were to be contested that afternoon as part of the Owners' Day festivities.

It may turn out to be an exceptional day at the track if trainer John Salzman follows through with his tentative plan to bring champion filly Xtra Heat to Delaware.

After Xtra Heat coasted to a 2 1/2-length victory in last weekend's Straight Deal Breeders' Cup Handicap at Laurel Park, Salzman said he might race his star sprinter in the Grade 3, $150,000 Endine Stakes at Delaware. The Endine, run under allowance conditions, headlines a card that also includes the $100,000 Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen Association Owners' Day Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on the main track and the $100,000 George Rosenberger, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for fillies and mares.

"We're looking at [the Endine] with the hope of getting the weight off her back," said Salzman, whose prime target is the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Arlington Park on Oct. 26. "We want to have a fresh horse in the fall when we meet all the top sprinters in the country. Hopefully, one or two more races like this should put us right on target."

If Salzman does run the 4-year-old Xtra Heat in the Endine, it could be the race that propels her past the $2 million mark in earnings. Xtra Heat currently has career earnings of $1,978,305. She would surpass $2 million by either winning or finishing second in the Endine.

Last year, Xtra Heat ran twice at Delaware. She posted a 5 1/4-length win in the Endine and then followed by romping to an 11 1/2-length triumph in the Sweet and Sassy Stakes before running second to Squirtle Squirt in the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Belmont Park.

Will Saratoga Blues run?

Saratoga Blues should be a prohibitive favorite if he runs in Saturday's $75,000 Vincent Moscarelli Stakes. But since trainer Anthony Dutrow has cross-entered Saratoga Blues in the $100,000 Larry Riviello President's Cup at Philadelphia Park, it's likely he will take aim at the higher purse. That would open things up for two other parts of the Dutrow-Lawrence Murray entry, Saratoga Way and Boca Flyer.

Aside from Saratoga Blues, who won the Whirlaway in New York in February but has not raced since finishing last in the Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park in March, none of the other eight 3-year-olds in the field has won a stakes.

Fashion Award came close, losing by just a neck in the Japan Racing Association Stakes at Laurel Park in his most recent start. His Beyer of 70 is low compared to some of the competition, however.

The best dirt Beyer belongs to Roger E, who earned a 95 beating older allowance horses last month, but never showed any of his usual speed in last weekend's West Virginia Derby.