01/25/2007 12:00AM

Forego lures pair of top-shelf sprinters


Under different circumstances, Straight Line and Will He Shine might well have been in south Florida at this time of year, knocking heads at Gulfstream Park. Instead, the standout 5-year-olds will clash Saturday as the favorites in the $50,000 Forego Stakes at Turfway Park.

Straight Line is trained by 82-year-old Harvey Vanier, who this winter opted not to take a string to Florida for the first time in many years. And while Dale Romans has his best horses at the Palm Meadows training center in Florida, Will He Shine remained behind in Kentucky primarily because "he doesn't handle the heat too well," said Romans.

For Turfway, getting horses with the quality of Straight Line and Will He Shine for the 6 1/2-furlong Forego is strictly a plus. Straight Line, a multiple stakes winner of $486,137, has won 4 of his last 5 starts, most recently taking the Dec. 30 Holiday Cheer at Turfway as a solid favorite. Will He Shine also had won 4 of 5 before finishing a close third as the favorite in his last start, the Dec. 17 Gravesend at Aqueduct, a race captured by Grade 1 winner Bishop Court Hill.

Both Straight Line and Will He Shine are using the Forego as a potential prep for the $300,000 General George Breeders' Cup Stakes, a Grade 2 race to be run Feb. 19 at Laurel Park in Maryland.

"This looks like an extremely tough race for $50,000," said Romans.

Straight Line drew post 1 and Will He Shine will start right alongside in post 2 among a field of eight older horses entered in the Forego, the 11th of 12 live races. Julien Leparoux has the mount on Straight Line, while Miguel Mena, who rode Straight Line in the Holiday Cheer, switches over to Will He Shine.

Among the others, perhaps the two most logical spoilers are Twilight Road and Yucatan. Twilight Road, a 10-year-old gelding, is a multiple stakes winner who has earned nearly $800,000 in a 55-race career, while Yucatan won the Forego last year by a neck over Saintly Look. Both horses have new trainers: K.K. Ball for Twilight Road, and Leroy Simon for Yucatan.

The rest of the Forego field is Buddy Got Even, Eyeforglory, King of Speed, and Outrageouslyfunny.

The Forego, inaugurated in 1983, is named for the legendary gelding who won 34 of 57 career starts from 1973-78 and was a three-time Horse of the Year (1974-76).