10/25/2001 11:00PM

Shag, Brig seem like real Deal


The search for a winner in the $55,000 Straight Deal Stakes, the lone route among three stakes on Sunday's card at Delaware Park, may lead handicappers to utter a four-letter word - Shag or Brig. Both are coming off stakes victories and have the ability to stalk and pounce in a speed-filled field of 13 fillies and mares.

The Straight Deal, which will be contested at a mile and 70 yards, is supported by a pair of $40,000 stakes for registered Virginia-bred 2-year-olds at six furlongs.

Shag, a 5-year-old mare, returned from a two-month layoff to win the nine-furlong Open Fire Stakes by 4 1/4 lengths on Oct. 6. That snapped a six-race losing streak and may have signaled Shag's return to peak form. In her career for trainer Michael Zwiesler, Shag has always been good at Delaware, where she has won 6 of 11 starts.

Brig, a 4-year-old filly trained by John Fisher, also does most of her best running at Delaware, where she has three wins and three seconds in six starts. In her most recent outing, Brig made a big mid-race move and drew clear to win the 1 1/16-mile Moonlight Jig at Pimlico on Oct. 8.

Among the need-to-lead types, Steppedoutofadream looks dangerous based on her recent dirt form. A 4-year-old filly trained by Ned Allard, Steppedoutofadream, who was cross-entered in Friday night's $100,000 Prismatical at The Meadowlands, displayed high speed winning a minor stakes at Timonium and an optional claimer at Monmouth Park last summer. She was out of her element last time, however, showing little in her first attempt on the turf in the Maryland Million Ladies.

In the M. Tyson Gilpin Stakes for 2-year-old colts and geldings, Shark Eye is winless in four career starts, but may be favored off his third-place finish in the Vincent Moscarelli Breeders' Stakes at Charles Town earlier this month.

Saturday's Child, a wire-to-wire maiden winner by 2 3/4 lengths in the slop at Hoosier Park, is the 2-year-old filly to beat in the Hildene Stakes.