07/01/2003 11:00PM

Storybook Kid a tiger on turf

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The story of Storybook Kid can only get better Friday if the former $7,500 claimer wins the first stakes of his career in the $75,000 Independence Handicap at Louisiana Downs in Bossier City, La.

Storybook Kid should vie for favoritism in the 1 1/16-mile turf race with Seainsky. Also in the seven-horse field are stakes winners Big Hubie, Skate Away, April's Lucky Boy, Rebridled, and Dash for Daylight.

Storybook Kid started his career on dirt, and in his fourth start won his maiden for a claiming price of $7,500 at Ellis Park. A few races later he cleared his nonwinner-of-two condition, also on dirt, in a $10,000 claimer at Hoosier Park.

Soon afterward, Storybook Kid was placed on turf, which turned out to be his calling. He shot up the class ladder, and four races ago was claimed for $40,000 out of an optional claimer at Fair Grounds March 30.

He won that day, then reeled off two more wins for his new connections, Stanley Seelig and trainer Patrick Mouton. Those wins came in a $50,000 optional claimer on turf, and a tough allowance prep for the $250,000 Dallas Turf Cup.

Storybook Kid advanced to the Dallas Turf Cup last month, and ran a brave third to the Grade 1-placed Patrol at 15-1.

"I loved his race," said Mouton. "I think had he not had to go so wide on the turn, he would have been second."

Storybook Kid will break from the rail under Don Simington Friday. Mouton said he loves the post, noting that Storybook Kid, a closer, has drawn the rail in three of his last four starts, winning twice. Overall, he has won 13 races and $269,215.

Seainsky comes into the Independence on the heels of a game win in an allowance race on dirt at Lone Star on June 22. He closed with a rush for a neck win over pacesetter Compen-dium.

Although he has won on turf, Seainsky's best race on the surface might have been when he rallied from well back to miss by a neck in the $100,000 Woodchopper Handicap at Fair Grounds in December. Guy Smith has the mount.

Big Hubie, who won the $100,000 Louisiana Downs Handicap on turf last year, makes his first start as a 5-year-old. Trainer Kenny Smith has given the mount to Tim Doocy.