01/17/2008 12:00AM

Three-year-olds in spotlight at Tampa


Trainer Nick Zito's highly regarded colt Cool Coal Man and the unbeaten filly Unfolding Wish headline a pair of seven-furlong stakes for 3-year-olds at Tampa Bay Downs.

Cool Coal Man, scratched out of the Hutcheson at Gulfstream Park two weeks ago, is scheduled to make his 3-year-old debut in the $75,000 Pasco, a prep for the $200,000 Sam Davis at 1 1/16 miles on Feb. 16.

Unfolding Wish, whose 3-for-3 record includes a win locally in the six-furlong Sandpiper, tops a field of eight in the $65,000 Gasparilla, which serves as a steppingstone to the Feb. 16 Suncoast, a $75,000 stakes at one mile.

Cool Coal Man, based this winter on Florida's east coast at Palm Meadows, will be making his first start since flashing speed and tiring to finish last of seven in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs.

His eight rivals include Honey Honey Honey, who was all out to upset the six-furlong Inaugural at

38-1; two others who finished within a half-length of him in that Dec. 29 sprint, runner-up Run Sully Run and Surrealdeal; plus two Calder-based runners who cleared their first allowance condition there, Vanderkaay and Victory Cafe.

Of that group, the most intriguing might be Victory Cafe, trained by Steve Standridge. Unlike most of the others in this field, who have yet to win beyond six furlongs, Victory Cafe already has two wins going a mile or longer. He has been freshened since breaking slowly and failing to show his customary speed in the What a Pleasure at Calder on Dec. 1.

In the Gasparilla, Unfolding Wish will be conceding six pounds to all of her opponents as the 122-pound highweight.

After two dominant victories to begin her career, Unfolding Wish was all out to get up by a half-length in the Dec. 29 Sandpiper. Trained by Dale Bennett, she will be making her first start beyond six furlongs.

Her keenest competition could come from Awesome Chic, who was beaten a length by Unfolding Wish following a wide trip from post 10 as the 8-5 favorite in the Sandpiper, and Cape Cod Lady, the only winner at the precise seven-furlong distance of Saturday's race.

Cape Cod Lady, who will break from the rail, comes off the fastest race of her five-race career, a late-running three-quarter-length win over first-level allowance fillies at Calder.

Formal Arrangement also merits respect. She won her first two starts at Mountaineer Racetrack by a combined 18 1/4 lengths and passed four horses in the final quarter-mile of the Sandpiper. She's eligible to improve making her second start locally.