10/09/2006 11:00PM

Straight Faced to go for sweep from post 1


MIAMI - Straight Faced will break from post 1 when he attempts to become the eighth horse in Florida Stallion Stakes history to sweep all three divisions of the series in Saturday's $400,000 In Reality Stakes.

The In Reality was one of eight stakes drawn for Saturday's $1.6 million Festival of the Sun program. The finale of the open division of the Stallion Stakes, the In Reality will share top billing on the 13-race card along with its filly counterpart, the $400,000 My Dear Girl Stakes. The big day also includes the Grade 3 Spend a Buck Handicap for 3-year-olds and up on the main track and the Grade 3 Calder Derby for 3-year-olds on the turf.

Trainer Steve DiMauro said drawing the inside post in a field of eight juveniles is no problem for Straight Faced.

"The rail is fine," said DiMauro. "He should be able to get a good trip from the inside."

Straight Faced completed his final preparations for the In Reality on Monday, going four furlongs in 47.20, the fastest of 22 works at the distance on the morning's tab. The move was much stronger than his previous work, a six-furlong drill in 1:16 six days earlier.

"I couldn't have been happier with the way he worked Monday," said DiMauro, who trains the unbeaten Straight Faced for owner Walter Donnelly. "He really looked like his old self again."

Straight Faced will again have to beat familiar rivals Villainage and Green Vegas, who finished second and third behind him in the seven-furlong Affirmed Stakes on Sept. 2. The 1o1/16-mile In Reality will be the first time Straight Faced or Villainage will attempt to go two turns. Green Vegas came out of the Affirmed to win the mile and 70-yard Foolish Pleasure Stakes on Sept. 23.

The remainder of the field for the In Reality comprises Hold'em or Fold'em, Wonderous Glory, Imawildandcrazyguy, Soldier's Dancer, and Captain Cameron.

Only two invaders

There will be only two ship-ins for the two Stallion Stakes finales, both running in the My Dear Girl. Saint Barbara, an 8 1/2-length winner of her only previous start, at Suffolk Downs, has come down from Boston and got a good feel for the racetrack by working a mile in 1:44.80 here last Saturday.

Boxitup, a New York-bred who is winless in three starts at Belmont Park, was also entered for the My Dear Girl and will likely be the longest price in a field of seven 2-year-old fillies that includes three from the barn of trainer Eddie Plesa Jr., including the heavy favorite, Adrhythm.

Nightmare Affair a BC supplement

Pomeroy won't be the only locally based runner competing in this year's Breeders' Cup Sprint, now that owners Gary Marano and Ron Borgese have decided to pony up the $180,000 supplemental fee to make Nightmare Affair eligible for the race.

Nightmare Affair finished sixth, fewer than five lengths behind the victorious Pomeroy, in Saratoga's Grade 1 Forego on Sept. 2. The loss snapped a four-race win streak for Nightmare Affair that included a two-length victory over Pomeroy seven weeks earlier in Calder's Grade 2 Smile Sprint.

"I know the Sprint is going to be a very tough race, but if Pomeroy is being considered one of the main contenders, then we should have the right to go, too, since we beat him earlier this year," said trainer Manny Azpurua.

Azpurua said he believes Nightmare Affair had several excuses for his performance in the Forego.

"First of all, he vanned up from Florida, arrived in a rainstorm, and couldn't train like I'd planned," said Azpurua. "Then he was feeling so good he got away from my rider over a wet track when I blew him out three days before the race and went much too fast: three furlongs in 34. Finally, he drew the rail, and from what I saw all the inside posts were a disadvantage at Saratoga. Four of the top five finishers in the Forego broke from posts 7 through 11. And look what happened to Commentator, the heavy favorite. He broke right next to us and went nowhere."

The Sprint will be the second trip to the Breeders' Cup for both Marano and Azpurua. The Marano-owned Once Wild was one of the top choices in the 1989 Sprint at Gulfstream Park but lost all chance when he was knocked around badly leaving the gate. Azpurua's previous Breeders' Cup experience came with Extended Applause, who finished fourth behind 4-5 favorite Silverbulletday in the 1998 Juvenile Fillies.

Marano said he and his partner decided to put up the money to return to the Breeders' Cup shortly after Nightmare Affair returned from his trip to Saratoga.

"I think he deserves a shot, and we're not going to be scared off even by a horse like Henny Hughes," said Marano. "He hasn't missed a beat since getting back home. He's had four works and couldn't be doing better."

Nightmare Affair, a 5-year-old son of Out of Place, has won 11 of 41 career starts and earned over $850,000, with 8 of those wins coming in the last two seasons.

o Texas Red, who rallied to a convincing 4 3/4-length victory in a 1o1/4-mile overnight stakes on Sept. 18, will likely be favored to beat seven rivals turning back to 1 1/16 miles on the turf in Friday's main event. The $30,000 headliner will be decided under third-level optional claiming and allowance conditions.

o Mocita, co-highweight with Sunset Kisses for the $100,000 Shocker T. Handicap on Saturday, worked five furlongs in 1:02.80 on Tuesday. Mocita finished a well-beaten second behind the DiMauro-trained Darluna as the even-money favorite over a wet track in the Sambacarioca Stakes on Aug. 26 after easily capturing a pair of overnight stakes in her two previous starts. Darluna will also return in the Shocker T.