12/08/2005 1:00AM

Forest Danz meets unbeaten Liquoreux


OLDSMAR Fla. - Forest Danz, winner of 2 of 3 lifetime starts, will meet the undefeated Liquoreux when a full field of 14 2-year-olds runs Saturday in the $60,000 Inaugural Stakes as Tampa Bay Downs launches its 80th season of racing.

Aurelio Toribio Jr., who will ride here instead of Calder this season, will handle Forest Danz for trainer Manny Estevez. Forest Danz, a Forestry colt, will carry 122 pounds under the allowance conditions of the race.

The Inaugural is the first of 26 stakes, worth $2.3 million, that Tampa Bay will offer this season.

romped to an easy 6 1/4-length win in his debut in August against $40,000 maiden claimers at Calder, then came right back to post a 12-length victory in the $50,000 Fasig-Tipton Dash, a five-furlong sprint over a sloppy strip that was originally slated to be run on the turf.

Off for six weeks following that race, Forest Danz was the even-money choice in the $100,000 Criterium Stakes but bobbled at the break of that six-furlong sprint. He recovered to vie for the lead to midstretch but weakened late to finish second to Gin Rummy King.

will be making his first start for trainer Anthony Dutrow after winning his first two career races for the trainer's brother, Richard Dutrow Jr.

Liquoreux came from well off the pace to post an upset victory in his debut at Belmont Park, charging from next to last in an eight-horse field to run by the leaders and draw off by four lengths at 21-1.

Brought back at Philadelphia Park in a stakes restricted to horses in the South Carolina Residency program, Liquoreux justified his role as the 1-5 choice, vying for the lead to the stretch and then drawing off in handy fashion to win by more than five lengths.

He will be ridden by Daniel Centeno at 122 pounds.

Others worthy of consideration include , winner of the Michigan Futurity for statebreds at Great Lakes Downs; Dinner Choice, winner of his last two against Ohio-bred stakes company at Thistledown and Beulah Park; and Forestry Prince, a son of Forestry who has a win and second from two career outings at Mountaineer Race Track.

At a glance: Tampa Bay Downs

RACING SCHEDULE: 94 days; Dec. 10 through May 7; dark Mondays and Wednesdays except January 2,16, and April 3, 10, 17, and 24; no racing Dec. 15, 16, 22, 24, 25, and 29, March 30 and April 6, 7, 13, 14, 16, 20, 21, 25, 27, and 28 plus no racing May 2,4 and 5.

POST TIME: 12:25 p.m. Eastern

HIGHLIGHTS: Grade 3, $250,000 Tampa Bay Derby, March 18; Grade 3, $150,000 Hillsborough Stakes, March 18; $200,000 Florida Oaks, March 18; Florida Cup Day, April 6

ADMISSIONS: General, $2; clubhouse, $3.

SEATING: Carrel, $3; box seats, $3. Children age 16 and under admitted free.

PARKING: General, free; preferred, $2; valet, $4; handicappe, free.

LOCATION: 11225 Racetrack Rd., Tampa, Fla.


PHONE: (813) 855-4401

INTERNET: www.tampabaydowns.com