11/14/2002 12:00AM

Familiar faces return for Mile


Although six out-of-towners have been lured to Mountaineer Park by the $100,000 purse up for grabs in Saturday night's ninth running of the Mountaineer Mile Handicap, they really aren't strangers.

Four of the shippers in Saturday's field of eight older horses have had one previous race over the main track at the Chester, WVa., oval. And three of those returned home winners, an indication that when trainers travel in quest of the slot revenue-enhanced purses at Mountaineer, they mean business.

Dash for Daylight, Docent, and Smashing Beau all won the first time they raced over Mountaineer's dirt. They will be joined by three other shippers with good credentials: Generous Rosi, runner-up in the Grade 2 Washington Park Handicap; Slider, beaten as an odds-on favorite in a Mountaineer allowance sprint but second to Breeders' Cup Sprint competitor Bonapaw at a mile; and possibly Acrolect, a five-time winner this season. Slider has been cross-entered in a stakes at Hoosier Park, while Acrolect is also entered at Laurel.

Dash for Daylight, a 5-year-old trained by Elliott Walden, looks like the horse to beat. He earned a 104 Beyer Speed Figure winning a six-furlong stakes at Mountaineer in July and matched that number in his most recent start, a solid second in the Grade 2 Forest Hills Handicap at Belmont Park.

Docent, seventh when tried on the Mountaineer turf in July, edged Burning Roma by a neck when he returned on dirt in the West Virginia Governor's Handicap in August. Trainer Tim Ritchey, 2 for 8 when shipping to Mountaineer, will be wheeling Docent back 11 days after he finished a close third in the nine-furlong Stuyvesant Handicap at Aqueduct.

Smashing Beau prepped for the Mountaineer Mile by winning a mile allowance race by a neck over Tour the Hive, the strongest locally based horse in the field. Smashing Beau has won his last two races at a mile, but his only prior stakes success came on grass in a restricted race at Colonial Downs.

Among the new faces, Generous Rosi could be dangerous if runs back to his late September race at Arlington, where he missed by a neck to Tenpins in the 1 3/16-mile Washington Park Handicap.

Slider was sharp early in the year, earning Beyers of 112 at Oaklawn and 120 at Keeneland in allowance sprints. He wasn't quite able to stretch his speed when asked to go longer in a pair of Grade 3 stakes in the Midwest during the summer and he was a well-beaten fifth when he sprinted at Mountaineer on Oct. 1.

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