06/02/2004 11:00PM

First try on grass for Wild Eventure

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CHICAGO - Mickey Goldfine has trained graded-stakes grass horses before. If he thinks the 3-year-old colt Wild Eventure will be at least as good on turf as he has been on dirt, perhaps that is enough for handicappers.

Wild Eventure is scheduled to make his grass debut Saturday at Arlington in the $38,000 Awad Stakes, a turf mile restricted to 3-year-olds. If the horse runs like Goldfine thinks he can, an eventful summer awaits, for the Awad is merely an appetizer. Summer at Arlington is the place to be with a 3-year-old grass horse. In a month, the Mid-America Triple commences, a loosely linked three-race series of 3-year-old grass races that culminates in the Grade 1 Secretariat.

The nine horses in the Awad are nowhere near that level, at least not yet, but the race is solid, and should feature a legitimate pace. Wild Eventure, a Wild Event colt bred and owned by Arthur Appleton, has tactical speed in route races, and can stay close to a slow pace or wait for his chance under Jerry Lasala if the fractions are swift. Wild Eventure has started only once this year, finishing third in the Lost Code at Hawthorne, but that was a six-furlong dirt race. In two-turn races, Wild Eventure is unbeaten in two starts, having won his maiden and an entry-level allowance last fall at Hawthorne, looking good on both occasions.

It has been two months since Wild Eventure's last start, but he should be ready for the Awad. Goldfine was preparing the colt for a second-level allowance race about two weeks ago, but that race failed to attract sufficient entries and was scrapped. The horse has been sitting on ready ever since.

Coming back from a longer layoff is Up Anchor, a Paul McGee-trained colt who hasn't raced since finishing a distant seventh in the Dave Feldman Stakes Jan. 18 at Gulfstream, a performance not representative of his true ability. The Feldman was rained off turf, and Up Anchor seems very much like a grass horse. He won two of five turf starts last season, including a victory over the Arlington course, and a pair of swift five-furlong dirt works suggest that Up Anchor is not going to "need" a race after his absence.

Pace should come from multiple sources, and although speed horses have been doing well on this course, there simply seem to be too many front-runners in the Awad. Marley's Revenge is likely to be one of them, since he comes out of stalking trips in fast-paced dirt sprints, though a turf mile seems within his range. He and Saltire, who has drawn the rail, seem the likeliest of the early-pace horses to be hanging around at the finish.