09/22/2005 11:00PM

No 'Nightmare' here

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MIAMI - Nightmare Affair assumed undisputed leadership of the local sprint division this summer by following his third-place finish in the Grade 2 Smile Sprint Handicap with a pair of stakes victories. Fortunately for the seven horses entered in Sunday's $40,000 Whippleton Stakes, Nightmare Affair is sitting this one out, leaving the six-furlong overnight dash up for grabs.

The Whippleton features several interesting subplots, as well as a field loaded with speed. The race will be the stakes debut of the suddenly red-hot Anjiz Crypto, who has posted big numbers winning his last two starts going gate to wire. It will also be the local debut for the equally fleet Apalachian Thunder, a former member of trainer Bob Baffert's potent arsenal now under the guidance of Bill White, who will also send out the lightly raced but promising Florida Express in the Whippleton.

Add the likes of Paradise Dancer and Swift Replica, second and third behind Nightmare Affair in the Major Moran Stakes on Aug. 28; recent allowance winner Champagne Account; and the tough Eternal Look, and the Whippleton has come up one of the most competitive sprint stakes of the meet.

The Argentinian-bred Anjiz Crypto has shown marked improvement since acclimating to the North American style of racing and adding blinkers three starts back. Anjiz Crypto earned Beyer Speed Figures of 97 and 100 for his two easy allowance victories over the past five weeks, but faces stiffer opposition and must prove he can repeat those types of performances if he is outsprinted to the lead, as may be the case in this spot.

Apalachian Thunder could be the one to catch, even though he failed to get close to the front in his last start, the 4 1/2-furlong West Virginia Chairman's Cup at Mountaineer on Aug. 14. The Chairman's Cup has since turned out to be a super-key race, with five members of the seven-horse field returning to win their next starts. Apalachian Thunder failed to break alertly that afternoon, but on his best day is capable of popping a triple-digit Beyer Figure.

Florida Express and Champagne Account are both extremely quick but proved in their last starts they could also rate and win from off the pace. Florida Express returned from a 4 1/2-month layoff and rallied to a 2 1/4-length second-level allowance win, while Champagne Account came from behind to register a hard-fought neck decision over a recent third-level allowance winner, Chino Charlie, under similar conditions on Aug. 13.

Paradise Dancer has flirted with the upper echelon of the sprint division since finishing second behind Medallist in the Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap in his 2004 finale. He has gone winless in seven tries since that outing but continues to be competitive against top-flight company, with his last outing perhaps his best yet, when he was beaten a length by Nightmare Affair in the Major Moran.

Final Prophecy vs. Keep Cool

Final Prophecy has been assigned high weight of 118 pounds, one more than Keep Cool, for next Saturday's $100,000 Flying Pidgeon Handicap.

Final Prophecy is winless in his last three starts after moving to the top of the local turf division with a pair of stakes wins earlier in the meet.

Keep Cool has been nearly unbeatable at the nine-furlong distance of the Flying Pidgeon, winning 5 of his 7 starts going 1 1/8 miles, including the Absent Russian and Mecke handicaps during the summer.

* Apprentice jockey Eduardo Quijandria won the first race of his career when he guided 47-1 Kipper's Song to victory for trainer Phillip Amritt in Thursday's second race. Quijandria, an 18-year-old native of Lima, Peru, got the win on only his sixth mount.