08/04/2004 12:00AM

'Liz on Polk' can rebound from last


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - The second starter for trainer Jodie Sinclair could be one of the best horses Frank Calabrese owns - with an emphasis on could.

, a 3-year-old A.P. Indy filly produced by Calabrese's Grade 1 winner Silver Maiden, won her career debut last fall at Hawthorne by more than four lengths, but before she could develop further, a leg injury took her out of training for several months. Hard-used from the rail in her July 17 comeback race at Arlington, Liz on Polk Street wound up third in a six-horse field, beaten more than six lengths.

With an outside post and a race under her belt, Liz on Polk Street might do better here Friday in the fourth race, a 3-year-old-filly entry-level allowance with a $50,000 claiming option. Call the race the first of a three-headed feature: The eighth is for second-level Illinois-bred allowance horses, the 10th another entry-level allowance, this one on grass.

Sinclair was a minor-league assistant just last week, but after the split between Calabrese and trainer Pat Cuccurullo, Sinclair suddenly has been thrust into the Arlington spotlight. He officially took the reins of Calabrese's high-powered string early this week, with his first starter scheduled to have run Thursday.

Claimers mainly populate the barn Sinclair inherits, but Liz on Polk Street could be a cut above if - and it is a big if - she comes all the way back from her injury, and can rate and finish as she did in her first start. On her side is a soft field Friday. Speak Easy was placed first via disqualification in Liz on Polk Street's comeback race, but the fact she is entered back under the $50,000 claiming option says something about Speak Easy's ceiling.

There is a horse with talent in the eighth, the Illinois-bred grass route. He is Fort Prado, who was a distant sixth last out in the Round Table Stakes, but beat Illinois-bred 3-year-old stakes horses June 26 in the $88,000 Springfield Stakes.

Before the Round Table, trainer Chris Block expressed skepticism about Fort Prado racing two turns on dirt, and indeed, Fort Prado was flat in the stretch of the Round Table. Turf, Block suggested, would be another story, and that is what Fort Prado gets this time. Sam's Boy, Crusader Jo, and Tanner Terrific look like the main opposition.