11/08/2001 12:00AM

Young statebreds try turf


MIAMI, Fla. - To turf or not to turf. That will be the question when 2-year-olds, the majority of whom have never raced on the grass, square off in Saturday's co-featured Lulu's Ransom and Fabulous Frolic Stakes at a mile on the turf. Both races carry a purse of $60,000 with registered Florida-breds preferred in both events.

Even trainer Henry Collazo is unsure what to expect from Carey's Gold who will be among the choices in the Fabulous Frolic, a race for colts and geldings that drew 12 entrants. A son of Gold Alert, Carey's Gold won his first three starts, including the opening two divisions of the Florida Stallion Series before losing while going two turns for the first time in the $400,000 In Reality Stakes.

"I really don't know if he'll like the grass or not but we'll find out Saturday," Collazo said. "That's one of the reasons he's in here; to see how he handles the turf. If he does, we'll know whether to point him for the Tropical Park Derby [Grade 3 on Jan. 1]. Of course, there's also the chance the race might come off the turf. He should be pretty tough to beat on the main track considering his performance in the In Reality."

Carey's Gold drew post 14 for the In Reality, broke a step slow, raced wide throughout, and did well to finish third behind even-money favorite Booklet in the Stallion Series finale.

"I think he got more credibility from his effort when he got beat in the In Reality than for any of his first three victories," Collazo said. "I still have nightmares over the race, starting with the post position draw and then when thinking about what happened to him at the break."

Cornelio Velazquez will be aboard Carey's Gold for the first time.

While Collazo is uncertain about Carey's Gold's ability to handle grass, trainer Ron Spatz has said all along that he believes Mountain Forum would only get better when switched to the turf. A son of Open Forum, Mountain Forum is out of the stakes-winning mare Mountain Affair, whose only other foal to make the races is already a winner on grass.

Western Stranger and Quick Talker are the only two members of the Fabulous Frolic field to have run on turf, and both won their grass debuts in maiden allowance conditions.

Ms. Brookski, winner of the Brave Raj Stakes and second behind Blissful Kiss in the My Dear Girl Stakes, final leg of the filly division of the Stallion Series, is expected to vie for favoritism with Whitewashed and August Storm in the Lulu's Ransom, which drew a field of eight fillies.

Ms. Brookski has never started on grass but appeared to handle the surface well when working five furlongs in 1:02.20 around the dogs Oct. 29.

Whitewashed and August Storm each won turf debuts. Whitewashed won at two turns at Belmont. August Storm won The Meadowlands' five-furlong Prom Stakes.

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