11/22/2007 1:00AM

Talent Search faces early pressure

EmailTalent Search boasts the best early speed among eight older sprinters entered in Saturday's six-furlong Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash at Laurel Park. And while he is a serious threat to lead wire to wire from the rail, the 4-year-old Talent Search is likely to face some early pressure.

The $250,000 Dash, one of only two Grade 1 races in Maryland, headlines a 10-race Fall Festival of Racing card that includes a pair of $125,000 turf stakes for 2-year-olds - the Laurel Futurity and the Selima - plus a $50,000 starter handicap.

In a tactical move to ensure a rapid pace for stablemate Benny the Bull, a deep closer and the track's morning-line favorite at 9-5, trainer Rick Dutrow entered the allowance-caliber but speedy Holly Time.

Benny the Bull showed how effective he can be under the right pace scenario when he finished second, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 119, two starts ago in the Grade 1 Forego at Saratoga.

Trainer Mark Shuman insists the presence of Holly Time won't alter his instructions to Talent Search's jockey, Ryan Fogelsonger.

"My horse doesn't have to be out front, he's just naturally that fast," Shuman said. "I'll just tell Ryan to ride his race. We'll go rabbit hunting."

Fogelsonger said anyone who tries to go head to head with Talent Search, the 2-1 second choice, won't be around for long.

"If they're going to hustle to get next to me, they're going to be dead by the time we reach the three-eighths pole," Fogelsonger said.

High Finance, Saint Anddan, and Will He Shine - all Grade 2 winners this season - have the tactical speed to lay close to the pace and pounce if Talent Search falters the least bit.

Saint Anddan, formerly with Bobby Frankel, will be making his first start for Tony Dutrow, Rick's older brother. Their father, the late Dick Dutrow, won back-to-back runnings of the Dash in 1995-96 with Lite the Fuse.

"To win his race, one my father won a couple times, would really be special for me," Tony Dutrow said.

A fast pace would also help Miraculous Miss, a two-time Grade 2 winner last season who is 0 for 5 this season and a filly challenging males for the first time.

"I think that she's a very, very capable sprinter whether she runs against the girls or the boys," trainer Steve Klesaris said. "What we're going after with this filly is to win a Grade 1."- additional reporting by David Grening