04/06/2005 11:00PM

Around the Cape escapes nemesis


CHICAGO - The breathtakingly fast Lost in the Fog briefly was mentioned as a candidate for the Lost Code Breeders' Cup Stakes on Saturday at Hawthorne, but the colt has instead gone to Aqueduct for Saturday's Bay Shore Stakes. And nobody with a horse in the Lost Code is crying about it.

"I would have to think without that horse being in there, we would look pretty good," said trainer Bill Mott, who has shipped Around the Cape in from Florida for Saturday's race.

The six-furlong $125,000 Lost Code shares the Illinois Derby undercard with the $125,000 Meafara Stakes, an appealing six-furlong race for 3-year-old fillies.

Around the Cape made his stakes debut in the Grade 2 Swale on March 5 at Gulfstream. He outran his 25-1 odds, finishing second, but could not keep up with Lost in the Fog, who beat him by almost five lengths.

"He just ran against one of the fastest 3-year-olds around," Mott said. "He got beat, but he was still running."

, a Carson City colt owned by the Live Oak Plantation, was placed first through a disqualification in his start before the Swale, an entry-level allowance Feb. 5 at Gulfstream. Both races were at seven furlongs, and though Around the Cape ran well in each of them, he might be better suited to the Lost Code's six furlongs.

"I don't know that turning back from seven furlongs to six furlongs would be a negative for him," said Mott. "We think he can be effective."

Around the Cape's eight opponents include Santana Strings, beaten 4 1/2 lengths by Lost in the Fog in the Jan. 29 Sunshine Millions Dash, and fourth by 10 lengths in the Swale. Trainer Steve Asmussen said Santana Strings's disappointing run last time resulted from the removal of blinkers. Santana Strings gets the blinkers back Saturday.

"I got him to relax without the blinkers," Asmussen said. "Problem is he forgot to run."

The Lost Code also marks the 3-year-old debut of Three Hour Nap, perhaps the best 2-year-old in Chicago last season. Three Hour Nap won his first three starts, including the Arlington-Washington Futurity, before finishing sixth going two turns in this final start at 2, the Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland.

"We know he likes one turn," said trainer Hugh Robertson, who also starts Smoke Smoke Smoke in the Lost Code.

Fast pace likely in Meafara

The Meafara is nearly deep as the Lost Code, and the race should have a hectic early pace with at least five confirmed speed horses among the nine entries. Asmussen trains one of the pace factors, Megascape, who has disappointed in a pair of recent New York stakes starts after a strong 2-year-old campaign.

"Between the winter racetrack and the winter weather, she got out of rhythm," Asmussen said. "It's been much better for her recently."

The multiple stakes winner Amazing Buy possesses speed herself, but she has been running in two-turn races, and might be able to rate and rally in the Meafara, though the rail draw could force jockey Norberto Arroyo to send the filly for early position. Amazing Buy finished third as the favorite two weeks ago in the Bourbonette Stakes, her first loss after four straight victories. She is cross-entered in Saturday's Grade 1 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland.

From the Todd Pletcher stable comes Portsea, not as brilliant as the Pletcher-trained 3-year-old filly Maddalena, but a fast horse in her own right. Portsea has post 9, one stall outside the local filly Mamonia Gold, who is so quick that she worked three furlongs in 33.40 seconds earlier this winter at Hawthorne.