06/27/2003 12:00AM

Native Heir faces little on dirt at Colonial


Native Heir has been cleaning up in turf sprints taken off the grass. Now he looks like an even stronger favorite against a group of dirt sprinters.

The 5-year-old Native Heir, coming off a pair of victories in which he earned triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures, appears to tower over his six rivals in Sunday's $50,000, six-furlong W. Meredith Bailes Memorial Stakes at Colonial Downs.

After facing open company all season, including a win in the Grade 3 Deputy Minister Handicap at Gulfstream Park, Native Heir has found a soft spot against Virginia-breds. No one else in the field has a dirt Beyer this season within 10 points of Native Heir's last two figures of 101 and 102.

If the race were on turf or around two turns, Smashing Beau might be a formidable foe for Native Heir. The 5-year-old Smashing Beau is a neck away from being 2 for 2 in grass stakes, including a near miss in the five-furlong Punch Line two weeks ago. His two prior starts, both going long at Delaware Park, were also solid. In dirt sprints, however, Smashing Beau is 0 for 5 lifetime.

Ozark Academy, coupled with Oxford Tea Party, is a lightly raced 4-year-old with three wins in five starts, all sprints. But his best Beyer of 77, earned in a conditioned claiming race at Philadelphia Park, pales in comparison to Native Heir's numbers.