09/12/2006 11:00PM

Starcastic skips a level


ELMONT, N.Y. - Martin Ciresa has trained New York-bred stakes winners Presidential Affair and Little Matth Man. As talented as those two horses were, Ciresa said he believes he may have something truly special in Starcastic.

Following a 10 1/2-length debut win at Saratoga last month, the 3-year-old Starcastic will skip an allowance condition in his second career start Friday at Belmont Park. Starcastic will stretch out from 5 1/2 furlongs to one-mile in a second-level allowance race for New York-bred 3-year-olds and up.

"This is probably the most talented horse I ever trained," Ciresa said Wednesday.

Starcastic, a son of Honour and Glory, displayed that talent in the mornings at Delaware Park and then on the afternoon of Aug. 18 at Saratoga. Breaking from post 7 under Edgar Prado, Starcastic stalked dueling leaders before taking the lead approaching the quarter pole and drawing off while just being shown the whip in the stretch. He ran 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.85 and galloped out so strong that he needed an outrider to pick him up.

Ciresa wanted to run Starcastic seven furlongs in his debut, but the gelding's paper work wasn't in order when the race he had in mind was run on Aug. 12. Following Starcastic's debut, Ciresa started dreaming about stakes races such as the Indiana Derby on Oct. 7.

"Timing-wise, we wanted to run him back in about a month," Ciresa said. "The one-turn is great. I was looking down the road with this horse; the owner is keeping me grounded."

Though the past performances don't list a workout since Starcastic's debut, Ciresa said the horse had a strong one-mile gallop on Sunday, going his first half in 56 seconds and his last half in 50.

Raceland looms the horse to catch in this race. A son of City Zip, Raceland has set the early fractions in each of his last two starts only to be run down in the stretch. He did win a statebred first-level allowance race here in May, running one mile in 1:34.19. He breaks from post 5 under Richard Migliore.

Determinator, a son of Aptitude trained by Bobby Frankel, came from off the pace to win a first-level allowance race here on July 3. Like his sire, Determinator does his best running from off the pace and would most likely benefit from some hot early fractions.

Successful Affair has finished second in his last three starts around one turn at Belmont Park. Herbert T drops from a seventh-place finish in the Albany.