07/19/2006 11:00PM

Laurel alumni reunite on grass


Diabolical and Rock Lobster, two colts who have taken far different paths since running in last fall's Laurel Futurity, will meet again in Saturday's $50,000 Stanton Stakes at Delaware Park.

The 1 1/16-mile turf race drew a field of 11 3-year-olds.

Diabolical was second, three lengths in front of fourth-place Rock Lobster but eight lengths behind future Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro in the 1 1/16-mile Laurel Futurity last November.

Since then, Rock Lobster has raced just three times, winning the $75,000 Woodlawn at Pimlico in May, then showing nothing as the 11th-place finisher in the $1 million Colonial Turf Cup six weeks later.

His trainer, Michael Dickinson, is batting .500 at Delaware this season, having won with 3 of 6 starters.

Unlike Rock Lobster, Diabolical has done most of his racing on dirt, including a second-place finish worth a career-best 101 Beyer Speed Figure in the 6 1/2-furlong Spectacular Bid at Gulfstream Park in April. That performance, followed by an easy win in a first-level allowance that included older horses, earned Diabolical a shot at the Preakness, where he finished eighth of nine.

Switched back to turf by trainer Steve Klesaris for his most recent start, on June 29, Diabolical responded with a wire-to-wire second-level allowance win at Monmouth Park. His 89 Beyer is the best last-out figure of any horse in the Stanton.

Two other dangerous contenders are Silent Roar, unbeaten in two starts at Colonial Downs for trainer Michael Moran, and What a Warrior, who has strung together three consecutive turf victories at Pimlico and Philadelphia Park for trainer Bernard Houghton.

Colonial: Bright Gold formidable

Turf sprint specialist Bright Gold dominated last year's Somethingroyal at 9-5 odds, and she figures to be an even shorter price when she defends her title in the $60,000, 5 1/2-furlong stakes for Virginia-bred fillies and mares at Colonial Downs.

The 6-year-old Bright Gold, trained by Mary Eppler, has won four turf sprints since the 2005 Somethingroyal, including a 1 1/2-length score as the even-money favorite in the June 25 Buckland at Colonial. She will carry 124 pounds, the same assignment as last year.

The best chance for an upset may come from the 3-year-old Bindloe, who comes off a neck victory over older optional claimers, or Polly's Persuasion, a 6-year-old who usually shows high speed in grass routes and is cutting back in distance for her first start since October.