03/02/2006 12:00AM

Hard spot for pair of imports


ALBANY, Calif. - Two stakes-winning French imports will get a stern test in their American debuts in Saturday's $40,000-added San Quentin overnight stakes at Golden Gate Fields.

The connections of Silent Name and Sleepless Joy are both eager to run, although they will scratch if the 1 1/16-mile race is switched from the turf to the dirt. Both Silent Name's trainer, Gary Mandella, and Sleepless Joy's trainer, Bob Hess Jr., are unconcerned about the prospect of running over a soft or yielding course.

The presence of Adreamisborn, 2 for 3 over the turf here, makes Saturday's race a tough one for the two French imports. He sits back and makes a strong move late that has seen him record four victories in 11 tries at this distance, as well as four seconds and a third.

That's also the style of Silent Name and Sleepless Joy, notes Mandella.

"None has a lot of speed," Mandella said. "This is a race someone could steal. My horse is meant to be last early. I want him to relax and finish."

Hess will employ somewhat the same strategy with Sleepless Joy.

"I believe he will break well, but he will drop back," Hess said.

Adreamisborn has stalked a slow pace but will come from off the pace if there are honest fractions. Adreamisborn's stablemate Symphony Sid could set the pace along with Dynagold, who is making his first start on turf. Another entrant, Alexandersrun, set the pace in winning his lone turf start.

Mandella believes the 4-year-old Silent Name has the potential to be a graded-stakes horse in the United States. Silent Name was entered recently in a 6 1/2-furlong turf race and was scratched when the race was shifted to the main track, and he might need a race. Mandella also believes he'll probably be better going one mile than 1 1/16 miles.

"The softer the better for my horse," he said. "He's run outstanding on soft courses in Europe.

"The best thing about him is he's pretty consistent. He doesn't turn in too many bad ones. He's pretty close to fit enough. We'll try to get something out of this."

Like Mandella, Hess has concerns about the 1 1/16-mile distance, but for a different reason. He envisions the 6-year-old Sleepless Joy as a horse who will enjoy 1 1/4 miles.

Hess arranged the purchase of Sleepless Joy after he had been sent to the United States and scratched from the Escondido last year at Del Mar.

"He's a winner," Hess said of Sleepless Joy, who has fought foot problems but appears over them. "He wins races and competed well in long handicaps. He tends to prefer soft ground. If it stays on the turf, I'm really excited about him. He's super fit."