04/30/2009 11:00PM

Saarlight and Flashing jump to graded stakes

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Saarlight will try to add the Nassau County at Belmont to this victory in the Wide Country Stakes at Laurel.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Saarlight and Flashing, who have progressed rapidly in their recent starts, test graded stakes waters for the first time as they take on Grade 2 winner Frolic's Dream and the Steve Klesaris-trained duo of Haley's Lolipop and Maryville in the $200,000 Nassau County for 3-year-old fillies at Belmont Park on Saturday.

The seven-furlong Nassau County, which serves as a potential springboard to the Grade 1 Acorn on Juneo6, is positioned as race 4 on the 10-race program.

The Nassau County kicks off a Grade 3 stakes tripleheader, with the Beaugay and Fort Marcy, a pair of $100,000 turf stakes formerly run closing weekend at Aqueduct, carded as races 8 and 9.

Pace will make the race in the Nassau County, since Saarlight, Flashing, and Frolic's Dream have all shown a propensity for mixing it up early.

Saarlight was edged after a stretch-long drive in her debut at Aqueduct and then went to Laurel for a pace-pressing win in the Wide Country Stakes. She cracked triple-digits in Beyer Speed Figures most recently, when she wired a first-level allowance by more than 10 lengths and earned a figure of 101 for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.

Flashing has won 3 of 4 starts, her only loss a tough trip as the 8-5 choice in the Busanda Stakes. The A.P. Indy filly got two months off after that and returned with two authoritative allowance victories for trainer Tom Albertrani.

Frolic's Dream won the Cassidy Stakes with a 105 Beyer at Calder last year and the Grade 2 Forward Gal at Gulfstream Park this spring. Both those victories came for trainer Marty Wolfson.

Following the Forward Gal, Frolic's Dream was purchased by Lael Stable and transferred to Barclay Tagg. In her first start for those connections, she ran third in the Davona Dale after a duel with Justwhistledixie, who was to put a five-race win streak on the line as second choice in Friday's Kentucky Oaks.

Turf stakes runners gets started

If Mother Nature cooperates, many familiar turf stakes horses will get their seasons under way in the Beaugay and Fort Marcy, scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on the inner and Widener courses, respectively.

Five of the nine turf-meant fillies and mares in the Beaugay make their first starts of the year, including Sunshine for Life, who will look to reprise the front-running tactics she used to win the Athenia at 23-1 here last fall for Rich Schosberg.

Also making their seasonal bows are Carribean Sunset, fourth in the Grade 1 American Oaks in her only previous U.S. start; My Princess Jess, a two-time graded stakes winner at 3 who meets older rivals for the first time; Ladies Handicap winner Borrowing Base; and Dyna's Lassie, who hasn't been out since the Matchmaker nine months ago.

"We were all set to ship to Saratoga when she got hurt loading into the van," said Dyna's Lassie's trainer, Paul Fout. "She came off the ramp and rapped her tendon pretty good . . . so we decided to stop on her and wait until this year. This is a big step up for her after so long, and I would be really happy if she ran third."

All of the turf-meant runners in the Fort Marcy return from layoffs, with the exception of 9-year-old Silver Tree, a $1.7 million earner who is following the same schedule that won him last year's running of this race for Bill Mott.

Also making their first starts of 2008 are Dancing Forever, who is prepping for a defense of his Manhattan Handicap title; Operation Red Dawn, second in the 2008 Fort Marcy; and Cosmonaut, who hasn't run since the Arlington Handicap on soft turf last July.

"While we were up in Saratoga, he suffered a non-displaced fracture of his right front ankle," Cosmonaut's trainer, Phil Serpe, said. "We gave him four months off, brought him to Palm Meadows for the winter, and here we are."

The horse to beat may be Tam Lin, who recorded Beyers of 100, 102, 103, and 106 in four starts on Belmont turf last year, capped by a big win in the Grade 2 Kelso Handicap for Darley Stable and trainer Saaed bin Suroor. He was off the board in two Dubai starts late last winter but will be back on Lasix in the Fort Marcy.