10/20/2004 11:00PM

In Reality anyone's race

Jim Lisa
Cin Cin (right), winning the Foolish Pleasure, runs in a wide-open In Reality.

MIAMI, Fla. - Put together a full field of 14 2-year-olds, nearly half of whom have never been around two turns, send them 1 1/16 miles, and what do you get? The $400,000 In Reality Stakes, as well as the best betting race on Saturday's 15-race Festival of The Sun program at Calder.

The In Reality is as wide open as it gets. The race was so hard to gauge that track linemaker Chuck Streva made Cin Cin the morning-line favorite at odds of 7-2, followed by New York invader Closing Argument at 5-1.

moved to the head of the local 2-year-old division following a five-length victory in the seven-furlong Affirmed Stakes on Sept. 6. He solidified his standing four weeks later when outgaming stablemate D'Court's Speed by a half-length to win the mile and 70-yard Foolish Pleasure Stakes, a race trainer Bill White said he hopes hasn't drained Cin Cin too much for the In Reality.

Closing Argument posted easy victories in his only two starts. A son of Successful Appeal, Closing Argument won his maiden over the odds-on Prime going five furlongs at Saratoga on Aug. 25 and 10 days later scored a four-length victory in Delaware's NATC Futurity.

Closing Argument is owned by Philip and Marcia Cohen, who sent Booklet here with trainer Steve Klesaris to dominate the 2001 In Reality. Kiaran McLaughlin trains Closing Argument.

"We think we've got a pretty nice little horse," said McLaughlin. "The only question mark is the distance, since he's never been beyond six furlongs, and I'm not sure if Successful Appeals can get a mile and one-sixteenth over that racetrack."

Closing Argument drew post 1. As a result, jockey Cornelio Velasquez's hand will likely be forced from the outset, and Closing Argument figures to be on or with the pace.

There is no shortage of speed in the In Reality, with B.B. Best, New Jersey invader Captain Corelli, and Casey's Biscuit all expected to prompt the early running.

B.B. Best was the leader of the local division after his three-length victory in the Dr. Fager division of the Stallion Stakes, but he lost some of his luster after finishing third behind Cin Cin in the Affirmed. B.B. Best is one of three horses trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. will start in the In Reality. The others are Favre and the lightly raced Qureall.

"I think any of the three can win if they get the right break," said Plesa. "They're all coming into the race well. If the race goes according to plan, B.B. Best should be closest to the pace, Favre figures to race in mid-pack, and Qureall should be coming from behind Favre."

Cherokee Chase, who led throughout to post an easy victory over D'Court's Speed in the Seacliff Stakes at a mile, probably won't see the front Saturday but could be dangerous coming off that well-graded effort. Trainer Milt Wolfson has put three stamina-enhancing mile works under Cherokee Chase's belt since the Seacliff.

New Jersey invaders Anthony J. and Alexandersrun will likely be big prices on the tote board, but each is capable of springing an upset if he moves forward.