02/17/2006 12:00AM

Switch to dirt would aid Slew's Prince


ARCADIA, Calif. - Faced with two choices Sunday for his good sprinter Slew's Prince - the $125,000 Sensational Star Handicap for California-breds, or the $80,000 Daytona Handicap for open company - trainer Cliff Sise employed a modern selection method.

"I might enter in the open and cross my fingers," Sise said, referring to a weather forecast that calls for weekend rain. Inclement weather threatens both downhill turf stakes Sunday at Santa Anita, and if they are switched to the main track, Sise will look like a genius.

is one of 12 that entered the Daytona, a race that would weaken noticeably if switched to dirt. In the Sensational Star, Slew's Prince would have faced Grade 1 winner Proud Tower Too. There are no Grade 1 winners in the Daytona.

The field includes 122-pound topweight Siren Lure, who has won his last three starts on the downhill course, and European import Silent Name, a listed stakes winner who finished fourth by only a length in a Group 1 last fall in France. Graded-stakes-placed Osidy will be among the contenders if the race is on turf, but his trainer acknowledged his uncertain status.

"He won't run if it's not on turf," Richard Mandella said.

Osidy experimented twice this winter on dirt, finishing sixth in the Malibu Stakes and eighth in the San Fernando. On Sunday he returns to his preferred surface, and he proved in his U.S. debut last summer that he can sprint, when he finished second in a 5 1/2-furlong turf stakes at Hollywood Park.

"He made up 10 lengths the last three-sixteenths," Mandella noted with only slight exaggeration. Osidy rallied from 10 lengths back to miss by 1 1/4 lengths. "If he runs like that, he'll be tough as hell. He's in great shape."

makes his U.S. debut for Gary Mandella, and the colt's European form was outstanding. His three wins include two listed stakes at Deauville. Silent Name is expected to run only if the race stays on turf. If that is the case, course specialist Siren Lure is the one to beat.

On dirt, Slew's Prince is the one to catch. A tendon injury sidelined him for more than a year, but Sise said the 6-year-old responded to shockwave therapy.

"If you felt him now, you wouldn't even know what leg it was," Sise said.

Slew's Prince drops out of a good fourth-place finish in the Grade 3 El Conejo Handicap.

The other starters in the Daytona are Geronimo, , Mighty Beau, Moth Ball, Railroad, Richebourg, Scheffer, and Ticafic.