07/11/2003 12:00AM

Blinkers could be key move


A drop from open company and an equipment change may be all Jaki's Magic needs to win for the first time in a year.

After chasing high-priced optional claimers at a variety of East Coast tracks, Jaki's Magic meets Virginia-bred and Virginia-sired older horses going 1 1/16 miles on the inner turf course in Sunday's $50,000 Daniel Van Clief Stakes at Colonial Downs.

A 5-year-old gelding trained by Dale Capuano, Jaki's Magic hasn't won since July 2002, coincidentally the last time he raced at Colonial. He adds blinkers, a move that has produced four wins in 13 starts for Capuano the last two seasons.

At his best, Jaki's Magic is capable of producing a Beyer Speed Figure in the upper 80's, which would make him dangerous at a square price. The last time Jaki's Magic raced without blinkers, he was a solid second in a 1 1/16-mile optional claimer at Pimlico.

Smashing Beau, who won last year's Van Clief with a 91 Beyer in his only previous try going long on the grass, is the horse to beat. He has been extremely sharp in two stakes at the meet, just missing in the five-furlong Punch Line on turf and winning the six-furlong Bailes Memorial on dirt two weeks ago.

Purple Sand, the most successful turf horse in the nine-horse field with four wins and 13 in-the-money finishes from 17 starts, also figures to be well supported. Purple Sand finished third, a length behind Smashing Beau, in the 2002 Van Clief and comes off a wire-to-wire win over the course at nine furlongs on June 21.

Oxford Tea Party, the field's only other multiple winner on turf, has not won going long on the grass since 2001 at now-defunct Garden State Park.

Longshot players might consider New York shipper Lord Burleigh, who will be making his first start since October. He won his maiden going 1 1/4 miles on turf at Belmont as a 3-year-old last summer and was regarded highly enough by his former trainer Allen Jerkens to have run in a Grade 3 turf stakes at Saratoga.