10/27/2006 12:00AM

Day Pass steps up - but not too far

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ELMONT, N.Y. - Kiaran McLaughlin preferred to run his talented 2-year-old debut winner Day Pass in an allowance race rather than Sunday's Grade 3, $100,000 at Aqueduct. But with the Nashua the equivalent of a first-level allowance race, McLaughlin altered course and entered Day Pass in the one-mile race.

The Nashua, which drew a field of six, shares billing on the card with the Grade 3, $100,000 Tempted for juvenile fillies, which drew a field of five.

Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum purchased Day Pass for $725,000 at Keeneland's April sale of 2-year-olds in training. According to McLaughlin, Day Pass worked two furlongs in 20.60 seconds before the sale. Though he is by the sprint sire Five Star Day, Day Pass is no sprinter, McLaughlin said.

In his debut on Oct. 7 at Belmont, Day Pass overcame a terrible start to circle the field and win a 5 1/2-furlong maiden race by 1 1/2 lengths over stablemate Media City. He covered the distance in 1:04 and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 80.

"He has a tremendous amount of class and a presence about him and he's smart," McLaughlin said. "He walked out of the gate, circled the field, and got a [good speed figure]. This is a very, very good colt."

McLaughlin briefly thought about pre-entering Day Pass in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, but felt the jump from a 5 1/2-furlong maiden race to a Grade 1, 1 1/16-mile stakes was a bit much.

"This step is not a huge step in comparison," McLaughlin said. "There are [five] other a-other-thans and we're an a-other-than. Ultimately he might end up in Dubai. This might be the last time we run him, and we might not run him [Sunday] if Sheikh Mohammed says don't run him, send him on. He's that kind of horse, and I'm happy to hand him over and hope he wins the 2007 Kentucky Derby."

While Day Pass will be stretching out in distance, Sightseeing will be cutting back. Sightseeing, a son of Pulpit trained by Shug McGaughey, won a 1 1/16-mile maiden race in his third start, prevailing in a prolonged stretch drive.

"I though he ran good," the trainer said. "He was down on the rail, a horse got by him, and he came back. That race helped him a lot; he seems like it in the mornings."

Since the race, Sightseeing has put in two strong works, including a five-furlong move in 59.80 seconds last Saturday.

Trading Star and Cowtown Cat come off impressive maiden wins. Sipsey and Pink Viper complete the field.