06/11/2003 11:00PM

Hill Prince has field of winners


ELMONT, N.Y. - Provided Mother Nature allows the Grade 3, $100,000 Hill Prince to remain on the turf, bettors will be treated to a competitive wagering event.

Six of the eight runners slated to run the nine furlongs on the inner turf are coming off victories, and the two that are not have already proven themselves.

Lismore Knight, a son of Woodman who is 2 for 2 on Belmont turf, may rate a slight edge in the Hill Prince. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Lismore Knight won the Grade 2 Summer Stakes last year at Woodbine and finished second to Peace Rules in the Grade 3 Generous Stakes at Hollywood last November.

After a lengthy freshening, Lismore Knight returned to win a second-level allowance race by one length at Belmont on May 17.

"I though it was a good race for him," Pletcher said of the allowance win, when Lismore Knight ran a mile in 1:34.31. "We'd only worked him four times for the race. I thought he was ready, but he wasn't overdone. It should be the kind of race he could move forward from."

Rain is in the forecast and Lismore Knight's worst effort came in last fall's Hopemont Stakes at Keeneland over a course labeled yielding. Pletcher said there were other contributing factors for the poor performance.

"It was very late in the meet during a meet in which they had a lot of rain, and the course was pretty chewed up," Pletcher said. "He broke slowly made a huge middle move and flattened out."

John Velazquez, who is 2 for 2 aboard Lismore Knight, has the call from post 2.

The Bobby Frankel-trained Urban King has not won a stakes yet, but he has not finished worse than third in four career races. He handled yielding ground in France and finished a hard-charging third in the La Puenta Stakes at Santa Anita in April. Frankel's only fear is whether he has him fit enough.

"He's fit enough to run well, but the weather has hurt us," said Frankel, who has Edgar Prado to ride from the hedge.

Trainer Barclay Tagg has been shopping for a spot to run Hypnotist, but keeps finding soft turf or sloppy dirt tracks. Hypnotist, who has lost his last three starts, won the Dave Feldman Stakes at Gulfstream.

Silver Tree, Kicken Kris and Charge have all won their last two on turf.

Region of Merit, who won the Tampa Bay Derby, and Traffic Chief, an unbeaten New York-bred, would be the ones to beat if this race came off the turf.