08/29/2001 11:00PM

Carey's Gold, O'Rocky kept apart again


The anticipated match between Carey's Gold and O'Rocky, winners of split divisions of last month's Dr. Fager Stakes, will have to wait after the promising juveniles drew into opposite divisions of Saturday's split Affirmed Stakes. The seven-furlong Affirmed will share the spotlight with its filly counterpart, the Susan's Girl Stakes. All three races will be worth $125,000.

Racing secretary Bob Umphrey received permission from the Florida Division of the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association to fund a second division of the Affirmed from horseman's accrued purse monies after 18 2-year-olds passed the box for the middle leg of the open division of the Florida Stallion Stakes. O'Rocky will run in the first division, which goes as the eighth race on Saturday's 12-race program, while Carey's Gold faces eight rivals in the second division, carded as the 10th event.

O'Rocky rallied from just off the pace to a 2 3/4-length victory over Concorde's Appeal in the opening division of the six-furlong Dr. Fager. The win was the third in the last four starts for the son of Birdonthewire, who has displayed steady improvement with experience and the addition of Lasix and blinkers. The colt is trained by Eddie Plesa Jr. for Bea Oxenberg.

Royal Lad, who finished a game second behind Carey's Gold despite an eventful start in the Dr. Fager while making his first start with blinkers, may prove the horse to beat, despite entering the Affirmed a maiden.

Barnacle Steve figures to show improvement after being roughed at the break and finishing last of nine as the 3-2 favorite behind Carey's Gold in the second division of the Dr. Fager.

Carey's Gold kept his record unblemished when he survived an early pace battle with Royal Lad and a dead rail to post a well-deserved two-length decision in the second division of the Dr. Fager. The former claimer was making his first start since being purchased privately by the Thompson Stables following an easy debut victory, which came under a $40,000 price tag.

Concorde's Appeal, who like his stablemate Royal Lad enters the Affirmed a maiden, is among the major challengers in the second division along with Mountain Forum, who ran faster than either Carey's Gold or O'Rocky when he won his maiden on the Dr. Fager undercard.

The Susan's Girl appears to be coming up a stronger race than either division of the Affirmed with the 11-horse field led by the undefeated Pharmstar, an easy 4 3/4-length winner of the Desert Vixen Stakes three weeks ago. The daughter of Adhocracy, who has been fighting tender shins this summer, tops a potent three-horse entry for the Centaur Farms and trainer Ralph Ziadie along with Buck For Par and Redoubled Miss.

Blissful Kiss, an easy winner of the J j'sdream Stakes but a disappointing second in the Desert Vixen, seeks to reverse that setback while Kentucky invaders Bold World and the stakes-placed Typhoon Bertie also figure as key contenders making their local debuts in the Susan's Girl.