11/13/2003 12:00AM

'Ghost' may be Zito's next Derby prospect


Trainer Nick Zito has already had a tremendous fall with his 2-year-old colts, winning graded events such as the Champagne with Birdstone, Lane's End Breeders' Futurity with Eurosilver, and Iroquois with The Cliff's Edge.

Saturday, Zito will seek another juvenile graded stakes when he sends out Ghost Mountain in the Grade 3, $100,000 Laurel Futurity at Laurel Park. The Laurel Futurity is one of five supporting stakes on a 10-race card that features the Grade 1 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash.

Ghost Mountain, a half-brother to Louisiana Derby winner Fifty Stars, is coming off two front-running sprint victories in Kentucky and will be trying two turns for the first time. He is 2 for 2 since adding blinkers, and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 96 when he won a seven-furlong allowance race at Keeneland on Oct. 25.

"The blinkers have made him focus more and pay attention,'' Zito said. "A lot of times with the young horses, you don't know until you experiment. That's what we're doing with him here.''

Zito said by running Ghost Mountain at 1 1/16 miles, he is hoping to be able to judge whether the colt is a potential distance horse for next year's Triple Crown trail or if he will need to run in shorter races.

The Laurel Futurity has several interesting prospects in Tapit, Polish Rifle, and Capejinksy. Tapit, a son of Pulpit trained by Michael Dickinson, won his maiden at one mile by 7 3/4 lengths, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 88. Fancatstik and Might Roar, the second and third-place finishers from that race, both came back to win.

Capejinksy was a convincing winner of the Dover Stakes, run at Delaware on Oct. 11. He is a half-brother to Lead Story, who upset the Churchill Downs Distaff last weekend. Polish Rifle won the seven-furlong Maryland Million Nursery Stakes by nine lengths and, like Ghost Mountain, will attempt two turns for the first time.

Anne Arundel: Devotion Unbridled one to beat

Devotion Unbridled looks like the right New York shipper to back in the Grade 3, $100,000 Anne Arundel Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at nine furlongs.

A daughter of Unbridled, Devotion Unbridled is out of the dam Icy Warning, a stakes winner on the Maryland circuit and a half-sister to other Maryland-based stakes winners Ops Smile and Testing.

Devotion Unbridled, trained by Bill Mott, has won her last three starts, including a victory in the Miss Liberty Stakes at The Meadowlands.

Trainer Shug McGaughey ships down Alchemist, who is 3 for 5, and Rusty Arnold sends down Retroactive, coming off two allowance wins.

Hail Emperor: Toccet finds easier spot

A year ago, Toccet won the Laurel Futurity on this card. His 3-year-old season thus far has been a bust, including a last-place finish in the Goodwood Handicap and a next-to-last place finish in the Breeders' Cup Turf.

Toccet should find the company somewhat easier when he faces nine rivals in the $50,000 Hail Emperor, run at 1 1/16 miles over his home track, where he is 2 for 2.

My Kind of Town has won three of his last five starts and finished a troubled third in a seven-furlong optional claiming race last out.

Selima: Can Forest Music rebound?

Forest Music ran the fastest six furlongs (1:08.53) of any debuting juvenile filly in the history of Laurel Park on Oct. 8, but 17 days later, in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, she was fried on the front end and finished last.

Forest Music will try to bounce back in the $100,000 Selima Stakes at 1 1/16 miles against eight rivals, including stakes winners Spectacular Moon and Richetta.

Seven of the nine entrants are coming off victories. Richetta is 3 for 4, including victories in the Maryland Million Lassie and the Heavenly Cause Stakes, both at Laurel. Her only loss came to Spectacular Moon, who is 4 for 4, including a victory in the Grade 2 Astarita Stakes at Belmont.

Stefanita: Gazillion vs. Wilzada

Gazillion and Wilzada have combined to win 16 of 26 career starts. Saturday, they meet for the first time in the $50,000 Stefanita Stakes for fillies and mares at seven furlongs. Gazillion is 6 for 11 at Laurel, and has won her last two starts at seven furlongs, including the Conniver at Laurel. This will be her second start off a 7 1/2-month layoff.

Wilzada, trained by Anthony Dutrow, has done her best running at six furlongs. In her only try at seven furlongs, she was beaten a half-length in the Grade 2 Nassau County Breeders' Cup Handicap.