10/13/2003 11:00PM

Out-of-towners on turf


LEXINGTON, Ky. - The new race is named the Clark County Stakes, so of course the Keeneland crowd will include a fair number of visitors from Winchester and other towns in that neighboring county.

Yet the new arrivals who should prove of far greater interest to fans Thursday at Keeneland are horses who recently have been racing at other venues and will clash in the first running of the Clark County. Nicole's Dream, Tangier Sound, Cauy, and Crystal Sea are four of the more accomplished fillies and mares set to compete in the $75,000 Clark County at 5 1/2 furlongs on the Keeneland turf.

Nicole's Dream is the only 3-year-old in an overflow field but may go off as a slight favorite nonetheless. A Florida-bred by Northern Trend, Nicole's Dream became a real terror at Arlington Park this summer when she won all four of her starts over the grass, a streak interrupted by one out-of-town loss in an off-the-turf race.

Like Nicole's Dream, Tangier Sound is an extraordinarily quick filly who came to a career peak this summer. Trained in New Jersey by Jimmy Ryerson of Unbridled's Song fame, Tangier Sound won back-to-back $50,000 stakes this summer on the East Coast.

Cauy, a distinctive-looking gray mare from Texas by way of Delaware and Chicago, has the versatility to wait behind all the Clark County speed before making her bid. Eddie Martin Jr., a former Keeneland regular, will be in from Hawthorne to ride for trainer Bret Calhoun.

Yet another potential danger from a stalking position is Crystal Sea, who has won allowance races this year at Gulfstream Park and Kentucky Downs. Crystal Sea ran second in the $75,000 Stravinsky Stakes at the Keeneland spring meet.

The rest of the field is Beat Your Feet, Paige's Boo, On the Fritz, Brown Eyed Beauty, All That Glitters, and Steaming Home. Two also-eligibles, Peaceful Place and G Mans Gal, would compete only in case of a late scratch.

The Clark County is the first of four new stakes named for counties that are geographically adjacent to Fayette County, the county in which Keeneland is located. The Clark County effectively replaces the A.P. Indy Stakes, which had been run for several years on opening weekend of the fall meet.

The Clark County is the eighth of nine races on a Thursday card that also includes three allowances (races 6, 7, and 9). First post is 1:15 p.m. Eastern.