06/22/2006 11:00PM

BC Sprint not just for guys

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
The talent and speed figures of Dubai Escapade, winning the Grade 2 Vagrancy in June, indicate she could challenge males in the BC Sprint.

PHOENIX - Very Subtle won it. So did Safely Kept and Desert Stormer. Meafara almost did it. Ditto Soviet Problem.

As the above names attest, females can win the Breeders' Cup Sprint. And after watching Dubai Escapade roll home for another super impressive win in the Grade 2 Vagrancy Handicap at Belmont on June 11 and earn another big Beyer Speed Figure, it doesn't seem unreasonable to believe she can add her name to the list above.

First off, she's enormously talented. After failing to threaten in her career debut sprinting on the turf in England way back in June 2004, Dubai Escapade has been perfect, winning five straight, all on the dirt. Her first win came in Dubai in March 2005, going a mile. She won by more than five lengths, showing she relished the dirt, which was no surprise because she is a daughter of BC Classic hero Awesome Again. She wasn't seen again until January of this year in an allowance sprint at Gulfstream. She romped by six to earn a heady 104 Beyer for new trainer Eoin Harty. She came right back March 3 at Gulfstream in a mile allowance race and again won. This time the margin was just under a length and may have provided proof to Harty that she may prefer sprinting. Her Beyer was 94. Solid, yes; gaudy, no.

So Harty returned her to sprinting in the Grade 2 Madison Stakes at Keeneland on April 12 and was rewarded. Dubai Escapade exploded out of the gate, established a clear lead, took a bit of a breather into the lane, and then hit high gear again to romp by nearly five. The Beyer got your attention: 110.

That set her up for the Vagrancy, and not only did she pass that test with flying colors but she firmly established herself among the sprint elite regardless of sex. She again popped the gate early, but the field came to her on the far turn. No matter. All she did was move to another gear, and there was suddenly daylight. First 2 1/2 lengths at the eighth pole, then six at the finish. Again the Beyer stamped her quality: 105.

Harty has mentioned next month's Grade 1 Princess Rooney at Calder and the Grade 1 Ballerina at Saratoga in August as her next targets. She looms the favorite in either, even if West Coast stars Behaving Badly or Pussycat Doll show up.

My optimism regarding a possible tilt at the males in the BC Sprint is buoyed not only by her obvious ability, but because there doesn't seem to be a monster male sprinter in our midst. Defending champ Silver Train looked good in the Met Mile. Sun King appears to have found himself as a late-running sprinter. Anew, Tiger, and Mass Media are talented. West Coast-based Bordonaro may actually be at the top of the heap right now, and Lost in the Fog showed he's back on track with a recent win at Churchill Downs, site of this year's Breeders' Cup. Toss in Carthage, who vanquished Lost in the Fog, and you can see it's a good group, a deep group - but not necessarily an imposing one.

So good it's - scary?

A couple of years ago Bobby Frankel unveiled a big maiden winner at Hollywood Park at a big price. His name was Ghostzapper, and he became a Horse of the Year and one of the most brilliant horses of the past decade or so.

I don't want to get too far ahead of myself, but if you saw the Frankel-trained South of Broad win his debut at Hollywood Park last Saturday, you may have seen a budding beast.

Historically the inside is not the place to be at Hollywood; even more so that day. South of Broad, a 3-year-old son of Broad Brush out of the Forty Niner mare Fortyniner Fever (an unraced half to Kentucky Derby hero Fusaichi Pegasus), was stuck on the rail for his debut going seven furlongs. He broke alertly and jumped right out to make the lead. He caught heavy pressure down the backside, on the far turn, and into the lane. He was actually passed at one point, and it would have been enough for most normal runners to run up the white flag.

But South of Broad, owned and bred by Stonerside Stable, doesn't seem to be any normal runner. The colt rebroke and spurted away to win by 2 1/2 lengths, clicking off the seven furlongs in 1:22.75 for a smart 91 Beyer.

And that was just his debut. That pedigree says the longer the better; that debut says there's talent galore. Okay, so it's surely too early to start drawing comparisons to Ghostzapper, but you get my drift. Consider yourself warned.