03/02/2006 1:00AM

Noonmark looks to take next step


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Last year, the Grade 2 Swale was arguably a more interesting race than the Fountain of Youth when Lost in the Fog shipped cross-country to beat nine rivals in his first start beyond six furlongs.

The field for this year's $150,000 Swale for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs lacks such a star, and figures to have little to no impact on the Triple Crown trail. If there is a horse that could emerge from the Swale as a possible Derby prospect, it's . A son of Unbridled's Song out of the Storm Cat mare In the Storm, Noonmark has the pedigree to suggest he'll get a distance of ground.

Steve Asmussen, Noonmark's trainer, said he has kept the horse sprinting because that's "where we've been at with him." Noonmark's entry-level allowance win at six furlongs here on Feb. 11 was certainly an impressive effort, one that is likely to send him off the favorite in the Swale.

"I like his chances this week," said Asmussen, who trains Noonmark for George Bolton, Joan Corrigan, and Antony Beck. "I love where he's at. I thought he couldn't have looked any better than he did against good horses [on Feb. 11]. He looked great in the maiden race, but who's in there? What were they up to? But I liked the race the other day. I like how he's come home his last two races."

Noonmark, who figures to be part of the early pace, will break from post 2 under Shaun Bridgmohan.

was a precocious 2-year-old who won two of his first three starts, including the Grade 3 Flash Stakes. Trained by Bill Mott then, Beacon Shine developed some 2-year-old issues that forced him to miss the rest of the year. Owner George Steinbrenner moved Beacon Shine to Nick Zito for the colt's 3-year-old season.

In his first start for Zito, Beacon Shine stumbled at the break and unseated jockey Javier Castellano. He ran loose around the track but was unharmed, and Zito decided to take a shot in here.

"The reason we're going forward is if you look at his last race, he stayed with his [herd]," Zito said. "Sometimes horses will take a left turn or a right turn. He didn't have a jock on him, but he ran with his horses."

An interesting horse in the field is Showing Up, a son of Strategic Mission, who won his debut impressively here on Feb. 11. Trainer Barclay Tagg said he wanted to see the entries before deciding for sure that he would run. On paper, Showing Up appears to stack up with the majority of this field.

"I'd really rather run in a mile allowance race next week, but if this comes up real easy it'd be hard to pass up," Tagg said.

will try to bounce back from two disappointing efforts in the Aventura and Hutcheson stakes. He was talented enough to win the Grade 3 Iroquois at Churchill last fall. Trainer Eddie Kenneally adds blinkers to the colt's equipment.

In Summation was the darling of Calder last summer, winning his first five starts, including four stakes. He comes off a fifth-place performance in the Sunshine Millions Dash at Santa Anita.

Electrify showed a new dimension by coming from off the pace when second in the Pasco Stakes at Tampa Bay on Jan. 28.