09/04/2006 12:00AM

Fort Prado gives dirt a rare shot


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Before he became a graded stakes-class turf horse, Fort Prado showed more than middling talent on dirt, scoring his best main-track win in the one-turn mile Springfield Stakes in June 2004 at Arlington. And while Fort Prado has made his mark on turf, winning 11 of his 22 starts on the grass, trainer Chris Block had no suitable local grass spot for Fort Prado and entered him in Wednesday's featured eighth race at Arlington, carded at one mile on dirt for open allowance horses or $100,000 claimers.

One of the main issues facing turf horses switching to dirt is the kickback flying into the face of trailing horses on the main track. But Fort Prado has post five in a six-horse field and may be able to stay in the clear most of the way. Moreover, several of Fort Prado's recent dirt works have been swift: On Aug. 27, he worked five furlongs in 1:00, fastest of 42 works at the distance, and his half-mile breeze July 30 was fastest of 66 at the distance.

"His being in there definitely makes it interesting," said Brian Williamson, who entered Straight Line in the Wednesday feature.

Straight Line is a proven dirt miler, with four wins and three seconds over the Arlington main track. On Aug. 12, in the Cigar Stakes, he finished second to Sampson's Son as the favorite, but Williamson said a stumbling start took Straight Line out of his best game that day.

"I think that hurt him," he said. "He was pretty far back, and I don't think he's the kind of horse to come from way back."

Christine Janks entered two in the race, and both have a chance. Nkosi Reigns, who runs for the $100,000 claiming tag, most recently finished fourth in the Prairie Meadows Handicap and has never been worse than third in five Arlington starts. Big Rushlet, Janks's other horse, comes off a dead heat for first in a third-level allowance race.

Camptown King and Chippewa Trail, the other two in the race, both are decent, but a win by either would qualify as an upset.

Dreaming of Anna likely for Natalma

Dreaming of Anna, a 2-year-old filly who is unbeaten in two starts, continues to tear up the Arlington racetrack in morning works, but she may head to Canada for her next race rather than run in Sunday's Arlington-Washington Lassie.

Bred and owned by Frank Calabrese and trained by Wayne Catalano, Dreaming of Anna is more likely to race in the Sept. 10 Natalma Stakes at Woodbine, a one-mile grass race, than in the Lassie, a one-mile dirt race, Catalano said Monday.

"Canada may be in the cards," he said. "The decision is going to be made tomorrow."

Catalano still was raving about Dreaming of Anna's five-furlong work on Sunday. There were 30 works at that distance, and the average time for a five-furlong breeze Sunday was 1:02.57 - Dreaming of Anna was timed in 58.40 seconds. Only one other horse cracked 1:01 on the morning.

Said Catalano: "I had Rene Douglas on her this time. He came back and said, 'I was afraid to let her work.' I said, 'She went in 58 and 4, son, galloped out in 1:10.' She licked her feed tub clean last night, legs ice cold - unbelievable."

Catalano said Calabrese "would love to stay here" for Dreaming of Anna's next race, but her connections have the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies in mind and think the Natalma could in the long run help get her there.

"I think that could be easier on her," Catalano said.

Meanwhile, Lewis Michael, Dreaming of Anna's full brother, could make his next start in the $200,000 Perryville Stakes on Oct. 7 at Keeneland. Lewis Michael finished third in the St. Louis Derby last week.

Lassie has six probables

Without Dreaming of Anna, the Arlington racing office listed six fillies as probable starters for Sunday's Lassie: Call the Kitty, Change Up, Ice Storm Coming, Lenaro, Nola Star, and Sea the Joy. Change Up won the Mountaineer Juvenile fillies by four lengths in her last start, beating Appealing Zophie, who came back to win the Grade 1 Spinaway on Sunday at Saratoga. Sea the Joy and Lenaro finished one-two in an overnight stakes prep for the Lassie.

There are 10 probables for the Arlington-Washington Futurity on Sunday, including Officer Rocket, Lightning Larry, and Street Sense - all good-looking Arlington winners - and Speedway, winner of the Mountaineer Juvenile in his last start.