12/21/2006 12:00AM

Yolanda B. Too still looks toughest


Bettors who hammered Yolanda B. Too to 3-5 on the substantial class drop from Grade 1 to Maryland-bred company got burned when the 4-year-old filly finished second in the Maryland Million Distaff in October.

Despite her failure, Yolanda B. Too will likely be a short price again under similar circumstances when she faces 11 other fillies and mares in Saturday's restricted $50,000 Squan Song Stakes at Laurel Park.

Like the Maryland Million Distaff, the Squan Song is a seven-furlong race for Maryland-breds. And Yolanda B. is again dropping out of a graded stakes, this time the Grade 2 Top Flight Handicap, to face statebreds.

In her favor is a weather forecast that calls for showers both Friday and Saturday. Yolanda B. Too has 2 wins and 2 seconds in 4 starts over wet surfaces, including victories going six and seven furlongs the last two times she sprinted in the slop.

"It's good that we were able to find a spot like this for her," said Richard Violette, Yolanda B. Too's trainer. "She's been a challenge in the past, with some episodes of bleeding, so we've kind of picked and chose her spots this year and not just run here anywhere. Right now, she's doing great."

There are few appealing alternatives for those trying to beat the heavy favorite. The most likely spoiler appears to be Lady of Summer, a 3-year-old filly trained by Tim Ritchey.

Lady of Summer comes off a 4o1/2-length win going seven furlongs at Laurel. Before that, she ran four consecutive races on off tracks, collecting a win, a second, and a third.

Those who like Lady of Summer should also take a long look at Mint Landing. She finished three-quarters of a length behind Lady of Summer last time out in a Nov. 13 overnight stakes at Delaware Park and was closing at the end of that six-furlong sprint, run over a sloppy track.

Patriots Image is 0 for 9 this season and 0 for 10 lifetime at Laurel. But she has been up close at the stretch call of longer races against open company in two of her last three starts and could respond to a drop in class and a rider shift to Laurel's top jockey, Rosie Napravnik.