10/05/2005 11:00PM

Swift Replica one to beat rain or shine


MIAMI - The sun may have been shining when entries were drawn for the $40,000 Hooting Star Stakes on Monday, but there seemed little chance the five-furlong overnight stakes would go as scheduled on the turf when post time rolled around early Saturday afternoon.

The presence of tropical storm Tammy and several other disturbances to the south had weather forecasters predicting heavy rain Thursday and continuing through the weekend. As a result, the Hooting Star drew 13 entries, including three stable couplings, with many in the field obviously in the lineup to run only if the race is moved to the main track.

The horse to beat turf or dirt may be , who has registered five career wins on the main track but also a pair on the turf. Among the turf wins is an open allowance race here last fall, when he rallied from the back of the pack to top a strong field as the 7-5 favorite. He also finished a late-striding fourth behind the speedy Southern Cal when making his only grass start this year, in the Calder Turf Sprint Handicap on July 10.

Swift Replica has kept the best company on the main track of any horse in the Hooting Star lineup, having finished third behind Nightmare Affair in the Groomstick Handicap and the Major Moran Stakes this summer.

is a Hooting Star runner who figures formidable no matter the surface. He won the Heckofaralph Stakes by five lengths after it was switched from the turf to a sloppy track on June 11, and also won an open allowance race on turf this winter at Tampa Bay Downs.

Trainer Steve Standridge is obviously hoping the Hooting Star will come off the grass for the fleet Gregson, who has never tried turf but has captured 4 of 13 starts on dirt, including a pair of allowance races in New York earlier this year. Gregson, 4, is also undefeated in two starts over wet surfaces.

Trainer Rudy Wolfendale has entered four horses in the Hooting Star, two for owner Robert Bakerman and two for the J S M Stable.

The Bakerman entry is turf specialist True Love's Secret and the speedy Love My Mountain. Eternal Look, runner-up in the Whippleton on the main track last start, figures to get the nod for Team J S M if the race is moved to the dirt, while five-time grass winner Simmer will start if it goes as scheduled on turf.