01/01/2004 12:00AM

Minaret pace should suit Vision in Flight


OLDSMAR, Fla. - South Florida horses are always tough when they ship north to Tampa, and a trio of talented Calder shippers, including Vision in Flight, will attempt to continue that pattern in the $60,000 Minaret Stakes at six furlongs.

Vision in Flight, who finished second to such notables as Storm Flag, Gold Mover, and House Party this past summer and fall, tops a full field of 14 filly and mare sprinters in the Minaret.

A Montbrook mare trained by Marty Wolfson, Vision in Flight makes her first start since finishing sixth as the favorite in the UcanDoIt Handicap at Calder in October. In 2003, Vision in Flight won two races and also turned in some strong efforts in defeat, including a second to House Party in the Grade 3 Endine. Vision in Flight also finished second to Gold Mover in the Grade 2 Princess Rooney and second to Storm Flag in the Toga Toga Handicap at 5 1/2 furlongs.

With the abundance of strong speed rivals in this field, and the likelihood of a blistering pace, the Minaret would appear to set up nicely for a closer like Vision in Flight, who will be ridden by Gary Boulanger.

Probably the fastest of the field is Chispiski, winner of 3 of 7 outings in 2003, including the U Can Do It and Cutlass Envoy stakes. She has won 12 of 26 lifetime starts. Chispiski turns back from a seven-furlong sprint in which she blasted through an opening half-mile in 44.83 before fading to sixth behind Barbara O'Brien. Julio Garcia returns aboard Chispiski.

Four Pennies, third behind Chispiski in the Cutlass Envoy, rarely runs a poor race and is another whose stalking style fits well in this race. Joe Judice gets the call on Four Pennies.

Really Royal, another stalking type, has climbed out of the claiming ranks to the allowance level and has won four of his last five outings. He turns back in distance from a win at 1 1/16 miles at Calder in December. T.D. Houghton rides Really Royal for trainer Greg Griffith.

Romancing Dixie has two stakes wins here, including a 57-1 upset in the Manatee Stakes last meeting.

Crimson and Roses was beaten less than a length when third to Ebony Breeze in the Grade 3 Florida Oaks last spring.