04/21/2004 11:00PM

Prairie new setting for old rivalry

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Eternal Cup and Surf N Sand renew their rivalry when they head a field of seven fillies and mares in Saturday's $50,000 Prairie Rose Stakes at Prairie Meadows.

Eternal Cup and Surf N Sand squared off in three stakes at the recently concluded Oaklawn Park meeting, with Eternal Cup scoring victories in both the American Beauty and Carousel stakes and Surf N Sand in the Spring Fever.

They are the 123-pound co-highweights under the allowance conditions of the six-furlong Prairie Rose.

Eternal Cup may have a bit of a tactical advantage as she tends to stalk the pace and there appears to be plenty of other early speed to hook the front-running Surf N Sand.

Jockey Terry Thompson, who rode Eternal Cup in all of her Oaklawn races, will be aboard Surf N Sand in the Prairie Rose. Trainer Steve Asmussen, who leads the nation in wins, has given the call on Eternal Cup to Tim Doocy, the early leader in the Prairie Meadows rider standings.

In the most recent start for each, Eternal Cup trailed on the backstretch before rallying strongly through the stretch to collar Surf N Sand in the final strides for a neck win in the six-furlong Carousel on March 27. The victory was Eternal Cup's fifth in 13 career starts.

Don Von Hemel trains Surf N Sand, a 5-year-old daughter of Boston Harbor who has a career record of 6-1-0 from 9 starts and $207,945 in earnings.

Each of the other five entered in the Prairie Rose is solid but it would be an upset if someone other than Surf N Sand or Eternal Cup wins.