08/03/2005 11:00PM

Will it be Fort Prado or Remind?


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Woody Stevens used to say that the buildings got awfully tall once you crossed the Hudson River. Arlington Heights, Ill., doesn't even have a skyline, but the New York shipper Remind might be crossing into deep water here in Saturday's Sea O'Erin Breeders' Cup Handicap.

Waiting for , the likely favorite, is Fort Prado, Chicago's best middle-distance turf horse and a worthy opponent. Remind earned a 104 Beyer Speed Figure when third over a lightning-fast course in the July 3 Poker Handicap at Belmont Park, and with triple-digit Beyers in three of his last four starts, Bill Mott as his trainer, and Arlington's leading rider Shaun Bridgmohan aboard, Remind will be judged by many the superior horse.

is an Illinois-bred and has yet to crack 97 on the Beyer scale, but he is unbeaten in three starts this year and has shown a brilliant turn of foot better captured by the eye than on paper.

Five others were entered in the $150,000 Sea O'Erin, a one-mile grass race, but Parker Run may not ship from Churchill Downs, trainer Steve Flint said Thursday. "There's so much speed," Flint said.

would throw more fire on a hot pace scenario, but the fractions will be honest even without him. Old Deuteronomy and Gin and Sin could make the lead, but Gondolieri and Mr. Mabee will be close to them.

"I would expect [speed] from him, yes," said Steve Asmussen, who starts Gondolieri for the first time since taking over as his trainer. Gondolieri's most recent start came in the Grade 1 Citation last November, and before that he finished fourth in the Grade 2 Oak Tree Mile. But Asmussen said Gondolieri has "been real slow coming back around" and might need a race.

Fort Prado is ready, having been idle since winning the Black Tie Affair for statebreds here June 25.

"It seems like it's been a long wait," said trainer Chris Block. "He's held his weight real well through the heat, and he seems content, anxious to do something."

Fort Prado has come through heavy traffic in his two wins this meet, but he has the athleticism to get out of trouble and waits patiently for jockey Eddie Razo to find running room.

Fort Prado has the makings of a graded-stakes-class turf miler. Remind already is one. It should come down to these two at the finish.