07/02/2004 12:00AM

Crypto's Prospect in top form for Gold Cup

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NORTH RANDALL, Ohio - Floater will attempt to rebound from a dull third-place finish behind Crypto's Prospect and Dawn's Revenge in the 1 1/16-mile allowance prep for the Cleveland Gold Cup when he faces 11 statebred rivals in the $75,000 Gold Cup at Thistledown on Sunday.

Floater, last year's Ohio-bred 2-year-old champion, is a two-time stakes winner from five starts in 2004, having won the Green Carpet at River Downs and the Wintergreen here, both at 1 1/16 miles. In the Gold Cup prep, he was in striking distance until midstretch before tiring to be beaten 6 1/4 lengths. A return to his prior form would make him a winner in the nine-furlong Gold Cup, but it remains to be seen whether he can show the needed improvement.

Floater, a Eutrophia Farms homebred son of Salt Lake, is trained by Tim Girten and will be ridden by leading rider Huber Villa-Gomez.

Crypto's Prospect was most impressive in the prep. He trailed the field for the opening half-mile, responded quickly when rider Weldon Cloninger Jr. called on him and swept by the rest of the field for a three-length win. His running style suggests the extra ground of the Gold Cup hould enhance his chances. Joseph Martin trains Crypto's Prospect and Cloninger gets a return saddle call.

Dawn's Revenge was with the pace in the prep until late stretch and finished well to be three lengths clear of Floater. His speed will likely be put to good use Sunday and he will have to be caught to be beaten. Luis Gonzalez will ride for trainer Jerry Sparks.

All starters will carry 119 pounds with the exception of the filly Barnsy, who is weighted at 114.