08/04/2004 11:00PM

Next step stiff test for 'Frolic'


MIAMI - Frolic for Joy has won his last two starts by a combined 25 1/2 lengths. Those two dominating performances, though, may still not be good enough to make him the favorite when he makes his stakes debut against the likes of Nightmare Affair and Caballero Negro in Saturday's $40,000 Silver Season Stakes at Calder.

Frolic for Joy needed five starts to win his maiden race, but he certainly graduated in style, with a 15 1/2-length victory on June 13. A 3-year-old son of Belong to Me, Frolic for Joy followed that performance three weeks later with a similarly easy, 10-length first-level allowance triumph, leading throughout despite having to rush to command after breaking a step slowly from the rail. He drew post 1 once again for Saturday.

Frolic for Joy, trained by Milt Wolfson, was bred to be stakes-caliber. He is by the multiple stakes-winning mare Lindsay Frolic, whom Wolfson also campaigned for the Stride Rite Racing Stable in south Florida during the last decade. The water will get considerably deeper for Frolic for Joy when he takes a giant leap from entry-level allowance competition to face much more seasoned and accomplished stakes rivals in the Silver Season.

The setup of the seven-furlong Silver Season should make the stretch-running Nightmare Affair the one to beat, with plenty of speed in the lineup to flatter his imposing late kick. Sami's Majic, Skip Past, and Misguided Left are expected to set a lively pace, with Frolic for Joy and Caballero Negro likely to be right on their heels. Nightmare Affair rallied from last to first to win a pair of seven-furlong allowance races earlier in the meet. Most recently, he earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 94 after beating a solid group of older horses under second-level allowance conditions by 3 1/4 lengths on July 17.

Caballero Negro, like Nightmare Affair, has also won two of his three previous starts going seven furlongs. His trainer, Mario Morales, has decided to remove the blinkers from Caballero Negro on Saturday. A stakes-placed 3-year-old, Caballero Negro ran off three consecutive easy victories earlier in the season but has dropped his last two starts. He finished third, nearly two lengths behind Nightmare Affair, in the Unbridled Stakes, and was a distant fourth taking on graded competition for the first time in the Carry Back.

Manoel Cruz will replace regular rider Eddie Castro aboard Caballero Negro, with Castro having gone to Mountaineer Park to ride Mister Fotis in the West Virginia Derby later the same evening. Caballero Negro will also have to concede two pounds to Nightmare Affair and four to Frolic for Joy under the allowance conditions of the Silver Season.