09/15/2004 11:00PM

Frisky Spider returns to dirt


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Frisky Spider will try to regain his winning form on the main track as the multiple-stakes-winning colt tops the field Saturday in the $60,000 City Zip Stakes for 3-year-olds at Monmouth Park.

Frisky Spider offers a double angle for handicappers - turf-to-dirt and long-to-short - as he cuts back from two turns to six furlongs.

won his turf debut in June with a gate-to-wire victory in Monmouth's one-mile Restoration Stakes. He was unable to sustain that speed in his next two outings, finishing fourth in the Choice and the Ocean Place Stakes at Monmouth.

"I had to do something with him after he tired in those turf races going long," said trainer Bob Durso. "He's won at six furlongs on the dirt, and he's proven he's a good sprinter."

Frisky Spider has a history of success in sprints. He won his maiden at first asking last fall at The Meadowlands going 5 1/2 furlongs. He reeled off consecutive seven-furlong allowance victories at Gulfstream Park over the winter, and captured the six-furlong Jock LaBelle Memorial Stakes at Delaware Park in May.

"I may keep him going short," Durso said. "But it's a race-to-race decision. He'll run a couple times more this year, and then we'll look for races at Gulfstream. He handled seven furlongs very well in Florida."

Frisky Spider has earned solid Beyer Figures on both surfaces. He ran a career-best 90 in the LaBelle and in the one-mile Ocean Place. Eddie King will ride.

A solid field awaits Frisky Spider in the City Zip.

Sir Oscar has been cross-entered in the City Zip and the Grade 2 Jerome Handicap at one mile Saturday at Belmont Park. Unbeaten in all six starts last year in Florida, Sir Oscar has yet to hit the board in four tries this season. He most recently ran eighth in the Rumson Stakes at Monmouth.

Jose C. Ferrer has the mount if Sir Oscar runs at Monmouth.

Completing the field are Beat the Traffic, Knight of Darkness, Little Red Rocket, Bola Soup, and Wild Jam.

The $60,000 Rockhill Native Stakes, also slated for Saturday, did not fill. The race office rescheduled the six-furlong race for 2-year-olds for Sunday.

Bravo and Lopez on the shelf

Joe Bravo and Chuckie Lopez, first and fourth in the rider standings, were hit by the injury bug last weekend.

Bravo rode only one race Wednesday and took off all his Thursday mounts after injuring his right foot in the starting gate before the Mongo Queen Stakes on Sunday.

Agent Danny Mellul said the time off was precautionary.

"It's just bruised," he said.

Bravo holds a commanding lead in the jockeys' race with less than two weeks remaining in the meet.

Lopez suffered a dislocated right shoulder when he was dumped by a mount on Saturday. He was awaiting results of a magnetic resonance image taken Wednesday night to determine whether surgery was needed.