12/20/2007 12:00AM

Barn likes Shore Do - so should you

EmailLOUISVILLE, Ky. - Sometimes when a trainer or owner looks through a condition book, searching for a spot for a horse, there seem to be no good options. Perhaps the horse is poorly suited to the distance of a scheduled race, or maybe the timing between starts simply would not work for another race. On occasion, there might not even be a race that fits the horse's eligibility.

When Bobby Frankel took over the training of Shore Do from Chuck Peery following the colt's eighth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile on Oct. 27, he faced none of those issues.

Having won a maiden race on turf and run third over Cushion Track in the Norfolk Stakes prior to the Breeders' Cup, Shore Do could have been pointed for any number of races, either at Hollywood Park or during the upcoming Santa Anita meet. The Dec. 29 Eddie Logan Stakes at a mile on turf would have presented a suitable option at Santa Anita, as would have a Jan. 3 allowance race there over Cushion Track.

Instead, Shore Do is entered in Saturday's Grade 1, $750,000 CashCall Futurity, facing elite 2-year-olds such as Massive Drama, Slew's Tiznow, Colonel John, Monba, and Old Man Buck.

By opting for the higher-risk, higher-reward race, Frankel is swinging for the fences. And my thinking is that horseplayers ought to, as well.

The confidence Frankel is showing in Shore Do by taking on the big boys hints that the horse is poised to rebound from a poor performance in the slop in the Breeders' Cup, when he was beaten 26 lengths.

The Include colt's recent works suggest as much. His works have been consistent and swift since he resumed breezing Nov. 19, topped by a bullet six-furlong work in 1:11.80 on Dec. 11.

Shore Do looks ready to run even better than he did in the Norfolk, when he finished three lengths behind Dixie Chatter. Granted, he needs to run better to win. He earned an 81 Beyer Speed Figure for his Norfolk effort, and in all likelihood a figure in the upper 80s or low 90s will be needed to win the CashCall Futurity.

Beyond the positive signals coming from the barn, I am encouraged by Shore Do's prospects of catching a heated pace that should play to his closing style in the 1 1/16-mile race. Six of the 13 entrants appear to want to race on or near the lead.

Shore Do looks dangerous at a price.

Fair Grounds: Sugar Bowl Stakes

Two-year-old colts and geldings are also racing at Fair Grounds on Saturday in the Sugar Bowl Stakes, though going a shorter distance of six furlongs.

Sok Sok, cutting back from a mile following an evenly run fourth-place finish in the Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes, behind eventual Remsen winner Court Vision, looms a standout.

Battle-tested in tough company and already a stakes winner, Sok Sok is the established class. He also seems to be the fastest horse in the field.

Although his lone stakes win came over the synthetic Tapeta surface at Presque Isle, he has consistently posted his best numbers on traditional dirt tracks - running Beyers of 85, 89, and 82 on such surfaces. Those numbers exceed those of the opposition on dirt.

The Sugar Bowl, the first leg of an all-stakes pick four at Fair Grounds, is a favorable race to use Sok Sok as a single.

Fair Grounds: Letellier Memorial

Two-year-old fillies follow the colts in the next race on the Saturday Fair Grounds card as a field of 12 runs in the Letellier Memorial at six furlongs.

Blitzing - who defeated two Letellier rivals, Syriana's Song and La Wildcat, in winning a first-level allowance at Churchill Downs Oct.o28 - looks tough to beat.

A daughter of Montbrook, she seems to have been targeting this race since soon after winning her last start. Rather than gamble on her being a two-turn filly by testing her in a race like the Golden Rod in late November at Churchill Downs, trainer Steve Asmussen sent her immediately to Fair Grounds after the Churchill Downs allowance win, and she has been training there on a weekly basis since Nov. 6.

On Saturday she gets to play to her strength: sprinting. Except for a sixth-place finish in the seven-furlong Spinaway, when she tired after chasing the pace, she has been in top form.

Although she was a close third behind Subtle Aly this summer at Saratoga, her last race was her best. She rated just off the pace and easily outfinished front-running American County, a filly who returned to win an allowance by 5 1/2 lengths at Churchill Downs on Nov. 24.