10/20/2006 12:00AM

Future belongs to Dilemma


ARCADIA, Calif. - The improving 2-year-old colt Dilemma has all the tools to develop into something special. So if he is defeated by circumstances Sunday in the $65,000 Sunny Slopes Stakes at Santa Anita, trainer Paddy Gallagher will not lose any sleep.

"It's only three-quarters and he drew the 1 hole, so he has some stuff to overcome," Gallagher said "This will give him some experience."

The clear message is that Dilemma has higher objectives than a six-furlong sprint.

Dilemma might not be quick enough to win, anyway. Front-runner Caped for Flight drops off a fourth-place finish in the Grade 2 Del Mar Futurity, a productive race, and enters as the clear speed of the Sunny Slope.

"I don't have any excuses," said Brian Koriner, Caped for Flight's trainer. "I'm looking for a big effort,"

He should be. Caped for Flight drew the outside, cuts from seven furlongs to six, and enters fresh off a break of nearly two months. Furthermore, he exits a hot race. The Del Mar Futurity already has already produced Keeneland Breeders' Futurity winner Great Hunter, Norfolk Stakes winner Stormello, and allowance winner Prime Ruler.

Dilemma, Caped for Flight, and Prime Ruler are the key entrants in the Sunny Slope, a 2-year-old stakes that goes as race 3. In race 8, speedball Selvatica will try to steal the $55,000 Pine Tree Lane, a sprint for fillies and mares.

The Sunny Slope is merely an autumn warm-up for Dilemma, a son of Grand Slam who is a half to Grade 3 winner Heavenly Ransom and graded-stakes-placed Capitano. In all three of his sprints, including a Sept. 3 maiden win, Dilemma finished like he wants to run long.

"He gives that impression, and I'd like to try it," Gallagher said. "But I haven't had a chance to try it yet." He will soon. There are ample long-distance opportunities for 2-year-olds during the fall met at Hollywood Park. Dilemma is owned by Leonard Lavin.

Caped for Flight has been dogged by problematic feet, but Koriner said the front-runner is doing well and "working really good" for the Sunny Slope. Koriner is hopeful Caped for Flight's feet will improve when he starts training on the Cushion Track at Hollywood.

Caped for Flight is expected to improve off his fourth in the Del Mar Futurity, where he came back quickly following a maiden victory.

"Back in 11 days was quick back," Koriner said. "We took hold, didn't let him show his speed."

Jockey Aaron Gryder is expected to let Caped for Flight rip Sunday, and the colt could be long gone.Multinational contendersP