06/06/2006 11:00PM

Spider Power's style suits turf course


ELMONT, N.Y. - With a winning race over the course and a field seemingly loaded with speed, the late-running may rate a slight edge in an extremely deep edition of the $100,000 Hill Prince Stakes on Friday at Belmont Park.

A full field of 12 was entered for the Grade 3 Hill Prince, scheduled for one mile on the Widener Turf Course. Three more horses, including Belmont Stakes entrant Platinum Couple, were entered in the event the race is moved to the dirt.

Trainer Joe Lostritto said that if the Hill Prince is in fact run on the dirt, Platinum Couple would run there and not the Belmont provided the Hill Prince field is reduced to six or fewer.

Spider Power, an Irish-bred son of Royal Applause, rallied powerfully in the stretch as he outkicked Outperformance - also entered in the Hill Prince - to win an allowance race by a half-length here on May 18. That victory came after four narrow losses at Gulfstream and Keeneland.

"I think the wide, sweeping turns help him here because he gets himself in trouble,'' said Kiaran McLaughlin, trainer of Spider Power and Carnera, a front-runner also in this field. "I think a mile is probably better for him. He was sprinting in Europe; you're going to get a faster pace going a mile.''

Spider Power will break from post 3 under Jose Santos.

Spider Power finished fourth in a March 19 race at Gulfstream won by Black Snake by a head over Noble Deeds - both of whom are entered in the Hill Prince. Black Snake, who is 2 for 3 on turf, has not run since that race and will break from the rail Friday under John Velazquez. Trainer Todd Pletcher scratched Black Snake out of the Match the Hatch last month when that race was moved to the dirt.

Pletcher said he would scratch from the Hill Prince to run in the Jefferson Cup at Churchill Downs on June 17.

is a versatile runner who is a neck away from having a three-race winning streak. After falling a neck short to Black Snake in an allowance race, he came back at Keeneland to beat Outperformance after getting away with soft fractions.

"He's got speed, but he can come from off the pace too,'' trainer Stanley Hough said. "I worked him on soft ground and he handled it okay. I'd rather it be a decent turf course.''

The Hill Prince will be the last of 10 races on Friday and will be shown live on ESPN during a one-hour telecast that begins at 5 p.m. Eastern.