05/27/2004 12:00AM

Newcomers to the turf fill stakes


OCEANPORT, N.J. - As turf sprints have long been a staple of the Monmouth Park stakes program, it comes as no surprise that $55,000 Gilded Time Stakes is one of the supporting features on Saturday's opening card.

The five-furlong dash for 3-year-olds attracted a full field of 12 with three alternates. Most of the runners will be getting their first taste of grass, adding an element of uncertainty for handicappers.

Those looking for proven turf runners will gravitate to Biloxi Pride and Honor Prayer, who both captured turf sprints at the Fair Grounds over the winter.

Biloxi Pride won his maiden last summer at Monmouth on the main track, and trainer Keith Dickey ran him back in the Continental Mile on the grass. Biloxi Pride was forced wide and faded to the back of the pack. That race sidelined the colt until late December.

"He bucked shins in the Continental Mile, so I had to stop with him," said Dickey.

Biloxi Pride regrouped nicely over the winter and comes into the race with three wins in his last four starts. This will be his biggest challenge to date.

"It's a real tough event," said Dickey. "There's a lot of talent in there."

Lissau, trained by Linda Rice, is one of those talented runners.

Rice had an exceptional season at Monmouth last year, winning 19 races from only 80 starters. Lissau could get the barn off to another fast start.

A son of Honour and Glory, Lissau won his lone start at Monmouth last year, the Smoke Glacken Stakes on the main track. He has not run on the turf.

Allen Jerkens will ship in Smokume from Belmont. The gelding owns the best career Beyer Speed Figure in the field, a 95 registered when he ran second last time out in the Kelly Kip Stakes at Belmont on May 14. This will be his turf debut as well.

Frisky Spider will also garner considerable support. He is trained by Bob Durso, who also campaigned Frisky Spider's sire, Frisk Me Now. Although Frisky Spider has never been on the grass, sprinting is clearly his game. He is unbeaten in all four of his starts at distances up to seven furlongs. His only losses were reaches: the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth and the Grade 1 Florida Derby.

Opening day at Monmouth wouldn't be complete without the $60,000 John J. Reilly Handicap for New Jersey-breds going six furlongs.

Trainer Kevin Sleeter has a pair primed for the Reilly: Something Smith and Kaw Liga Sioux. Both will be making their season debuts.

Something Smith has the most raw speed among the 10 runners. He ran Beyer Figures in excess of 100 in three of his final four starts of 2003. "Something Smith will be in front," said Sleeter. "The 10-hole should really help him. He'll be in and out and right to the front."

Kaw Liga Sioux should be stalking, looking to pick up any pieces Something Smith leaves behind.

"That's the plan," said Sleeter. "Something Smith on the lead with Kaw Liga stalking. Hopefully, they'll both be there at the wire."