11/23/2007 12:00AM

Shadowbdancing looms large

EmailJust one horse in the featured eighth race on Sunday at Hawthorne has made a start around two turns, and Shadowbdancing also just happens to look like the most talented horse in the race.

Trainer Terrel Gore said earlier this month that he has high hopes for Shadowbdancing, and why not? After finishing a distant fifth making his career debut in a one-turn Arlington Polytrack mile, Shadowbdancing turned back to a Polytrack sprint for his second start - and got thumped again.

But once he got onto Hawthorne dirt, Shadowbdancing leapt forward. Stretched out to two turns on Sept. 29, he lost by a nose in a protracted stretch duel with another promising youngster, the Lara Van Deren-trained Recapturetheglory. Back in another route race about three weeks later, Shadowbdancing left no doubt, taking the lead soon after the start, and drawing away to win by more than four lengths.

Shadowbdancing is by Montbrook, generally a sire of sprinters, but Gore said that based on the way Shadowbdancing trained, he figured the colt - a $200,000 2-year-old buy owned by Bob and Nancy Bartels - would be better at longer distances. So it has been, and with two good-looking works since his most recent race, Shadowbdancing is in position for his second straight victory on Sunday.

But even if he does win, Gore is harboring no designs on a mid-winter campaign. "Win, lose, or draw, he's done for this year," Gore said. "Five races, that's enough for now."

On the pace in his last two starts, Shadowbdancing may wind up getting a different kind of trip Sunday, since there are so many stretchout sprinters in the race, at least some of whom figure to show speed.

Instill figures to take betting action, since he won his most recent start by more than 11 lengths, but that was an Illinois-bred maiden sprint, and Instill definitely is facing tougher competition here. By Proud Citizen and out of a Sports View mare, Instill does have a chance to stretch out successfully.

River Bear's last start produced a second in Illinois-bred sprint stakes company, but his pedigree slants more toward speed than stamina, and two turns could be pushing his distance limitations. Soar Slew Soar, on the other hand, was compromised by a slow break in his last race, and has a pedigree that may move him at least mildly forward in his two-turn debut.