01/21/2005 1:00AM

Parasail breaks ice for Frostad


NEW ORLEANS - Trainer Mark Frostad looked like the fisherman who waited patiently all day before landing a big one Thursday, after Parasail gave him his first victory of the Fair Grounds meet in the feature race, a 7 1/2-furlong turf optional claimer.

"Hey, it's what we do," he said. "You kind of bide your time and eventually something good happens."

A 5-year-old gelding, Parasail is a younger full brother of Soaring Free, who won $1.9 million and was Canada's Horse of the Year in 2004. "Little brother hasn't quite lived up to that reputation, but we've been giving him lots of time and he's getting better as he goes," said Frostad.

Parasail began his career like a champion, winning at first asking in a six-furlong sprint at Woodbine, then stepping right into allowance company to score at a mile on the grass. After those two victories, however, he regressed, losing his next three races. His 3-year-old season was disappointing, too - four starts with only one winner.

Parasail has improved dramatically in 2005. In his first start of the year he finished a fast-closing second to Lac Laronge at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf Jan. 6. The form looked even better when Lac Laronge went on to win his next race.

Parasail figured to be helped by the added distance of Thursday's race. He broke alertly under James Graham and tracked a hot pace set by Wudantunoit, took over in the stretch, and easily held off a late charge by Forty Milito to win in 1:31.30.

"I think his best distance may be at a mile," said Frostad. "This is the prep race for the Mardi Gras Handicap. We'll have to look at that and see what transpires from there."

Herculated ready to roll

Trainer Michael Stidham has Herculated ready to run his first race in over three months. A 5-year-old Louis Quatorze gelding, Herculated breezed a half-mile in 48 seconds Thursday morning over the Fair Grounds main track, a surface he clearly relishes. He won his first two starts at Fair Grounds in 2003, a maiden special weight at 1 1/16 miles on the dirt and an allowance race on the grass. His form didn't translate that summer at Arlington Park, but Stidham brought him back for the 2003-04 Fair Grounds meet, where he scored in three consecutive optional claimers on the grass, then finished second in the Grade 2 Mervin H. Muniz Memorial Handicap, the premier turf feature of the Fair Grounds meet.

Herculated disappointed in his next start, finishing 10th in the Dixie Handicap at Pimlico on May 15, but rebounded to win the Sea O'Erin Breeders' Cup Handicap at Arlington in August. After Herculated ran poorly in October in a Hawthorne stakes, Stidham gave Herculated another rest to set him up for his favorite racetrack. The two big turf stakes that fit him are the Grade 3 Fair Grounds Breeders' Cup Handicap on Feb. 26 at 1 1/8 miles and the $500,000 Muniz on March 19.