08/03/2007 1:27AM

Eye Wide Open

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---Shakespeare wasn't the only impressive winner on Day 8. Others:

*Race 2: Irish Smoke, a $285k March 2yo-in-training auction buy, earned a strong debut Beyer of 94 running down 24-1 Syriana's Song to win by 1 1/4 lengths in 57.63. The gray filly by Smoke Glacken is trained by Patrick Biancone and appears Spinaway-bound.

*Race 3: Gold N Roses, facing four overmatched statebred sprinters in the absence of nemesis Big Apple Daddy, romped by 9 1/4 lengths at an almost-generous $2.70 in the $80k John Morrissey Stakes. The 5-year-old Gold Token gelding earrned a 99 Beyer winning last year's $63k Morrissey by 6 lengths and a 102 today defending his title.

*Race 9: Southern Prince won his third turf sprint in four tries after rocketing to a 7-length early lead in 44.42 and scoring by 3 1/4 with 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:01.60.

---No one reached in for Southern Prince at $50k but there were five other claims for a total of $200k on the card, topped by David Jacobson's $60k outlay for Santa's Gold in the 7th. There were two claims from the fourth race for $20k older fillies, and it's easy to see why: That group now races for a $36k purse, so a single victory at that level is worth $21,600.

---Here's the link to the Claiming Crown column.

---Two problems with playing the $57k carryover on Friday's card. First, the third leg is the second division (split with race 2) of a 2-year-old maiden turf race at a mile and a sixteenth and 7 of the 10 entrants are first-time starters. Second, the forecast calls for scattered thunderstorms over a six-hour period starting at 1 p.m., and one of these days those forecasts are going to be right. Four of the pick-six races are scheduled for the grass.

---Restaurant Outing #2, to the Springwater Bistro, was longer, fussier and pricier than Monday's more exuberant meal at Hattie's. I should probably issue a disclaimer right about now that I do not have the most sophisticated palate in the world (example: I skipped dessert at Hattie's to save room for a package of Hostess Sno-Balls), and that I am predisposed to roll my eyes at any menu whose fish section is headlined "Fish and Shellfish From The Powerful & Tranquil Oceans, Lakes & Streams." Dinner including two rounds of cocktails ran about $100 a head, and it was better than Sno-Balls but not necessarily $99.01 better. Still, the location right across Union Avenue from the track can't be beat, the surroundings are pleasant and relaxing, and you could do worse, especially if you've got time on your hands and someone else is paying.

--Finally, that promised reminder:

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Remember the system: A picture of a black, sleeping greyhound (Badger Pluto) means Friday post time is 2:45 p.m. A picture of a black-and-white greyhound (littermate Badger Popeye) with his eye wide open means post time is the usual 1 p.m. So tomorrow's the earlier start.