08/15/2005 11:00PM

Steeplechase prospect on flat for now


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Jumping can wait for Frolicking Prince.

A 4-year-old, makes his first start for owner-trainer Oliver Keelan Thursday in the $39,000 allowance feature at Monmouth Park, a 1 1/8-mile first-level allowance contest.

Keelan is always on the lookout for a turf runner who could eventually become a steeplechaser. He has served as a bloodstock agent in transactions involving several runners who became top-level jumpers and said he thinks he has a solid steeplechase candidate in Frolicking Prince.

"This is the kind of horse I love looking at and finding for steeplechase purchases," Keelan said. "He's big, he's tough, he's got great balance and good bone. He's an all-around gorgeous racehorse."

And one that can run.

Keelan recently purchased Frolicking Prince privately for his own stable, acquiring a horse in the best form of his career. Frolicking Prince has a win and a second in two starts this season, both on the grass at Philadelphia Park. He rallied to win his season debut at 7 1/2 furlongs and missed by a nose going a mile and 70 yards.

"He should have won, but didn't, so he didn't lose the allowance condition," Keelan said.

Keelan said he feels the investment can pay off twice - Frolicking Prince can be productive if he maintains his current turf form, and there are fences in his future as well.

"I believe he has the potential to be a great steeplechase horse," Keelan said. "He has great action on the turf, but he has trouble getting a hold of the dirt. You put him on the turf, you see a different horse."

Frolicking Prince earned Beyer Speed Figures of 81 and 78 in his last two outings, numbers that make him a very competitive factor in this field.

British Blue and Kingsley Club are the likely favorites.

missed by a neck for trainer Joe Orseno in his debut and earned an 82 Beyer, the third consecutive race he has posted a Beyer of 81 or better. British Blue forms an entry with New Age, whose best efforts have come on the main track.

is a 5-year-old making his fifth career start. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Kingsley Club was beaten one length last time, earning an 84 Beyer, the best last-race Beyer in Thursday's field. He is coupled with stablemate Clevedale.