06/09/2003 11:00PM

Fifteen Rounds tries elders


CHICAGO - Two races, two knockouts for the 3-year-old colt Fifteen Rounds.

Fifteen Rounds won his debut at Hawthorne on April 1 by more than 10 lengths and proved it was no fluke a month ago at Arlington, easily dispatching four 3-year-old allowance rivals. Fifteen Rounds climbs the allowance ladder and faces older horses for first time Thursday, but figures to hit just as hard in Arlington's six-furlong feature.

Bred, co-owned, and trained by Christine Janks, Fifteen Rounds has done everything effortlessly so far, prompting Janks to believe he's "probably the best horse I've had in 20 years."

Fifteen Rounds is by Fit to Fight out of a Fast Play mare named Star of the Dance. There's nothing wrong with the pedigree, but it's hardly star-studded. Some horses just turn out right. Fifteen Rounds worked fast long before he ran, and Janks said even though the colt has speed, he's highly professional. Fifteen Rounds sat outside My Calabrese in his last race and seemed perfectly content to wait until jockey Marlon St. Julien said go - and then he went.

Janks has given Fifteen Rounds two six-furlong works since that race, and though he will have to work harder to beat eight second-level allowance rivals in Thursday's featured eighth race, that's what climbing the allowance ladder is all about.

His toughest opponent may be Guapazo. An Argentine import, Guapazo has raced eight times in the U.S., and, amazingly, has never finished more than two lengths behind the winner. Consistent as he has been, Guapazo's rŽsumŽ sports only two wins, but trainer Mike Stidham makes what may be an important change Thursday when he turns Guapazo back from middle-distances to six furlongs.

Stakes fields in flux

Fields for this weekend's stakes races, the Grade 3 Chicago Breeders' Cup on Saturday and the Sea O' Erin Stakes on Sunday, were still in flux early this week. Arlington racing officials hope to get horses from New York.

The connections of Raging Fever, who would be the starting highweight in the Chicago BC, were exploring shipping options. If Raging Fever, who is trained by Mark Hennig, comes from Belmont, then trainer Bill Mott could ship with her one of the three horses - Del Mar Show, Miesque's Approval and Patrol - he has nominated for the one-mile Sea O' Erin.

Mystery Giver, who would have been the top local horse in the Sea O' Erin, is passing the race in favor of the Cardinal Handicap for Illinois-breds.