10/27/2006 11:00PM

Ah Day too tough on dirt


He may not have needed the assist, but the weather played right into Ah Day's hands.

Sent off just above even-money at Laurel Park on Saturday, Ah Day won his seventh race and sixth stakes of the year in the $100,000 Japan Racing Association Stakes for 3-year-olds, which was switched from a 1 1/16-mile race on the turf to a mile on the main track.

Ah Day has only had one start on the grass, but it was a good one, a second-place finish by a head in the restricted Humphrey Finney in September. On dirt, he is a multiple stakes winner, including the Federico Tesio at Pimlico in April and the Deputed Testamony at Laurel in August.

On Saturday, Ah Day stalked the pace under jockey Mario Pino as Forty Crowns and Tactical Brush dueled through fractions of 23.46 seconds and 46.02. Moving up and circling three wide on the turn, Ah Day took the lead from Forty Crowns in midstretch and increased his winning margin to four lengths as Pino tapped him with the whip near the sixteenth pole. Forty Crowns, a 10-1 shot ridden by Rosie Napravnik, held second, 10 1/4 lengths clear of Two Terms.

Amigoni, expected to be one of the favorites on turf, fell back on the turn and finished seventh under Ryan Fogelsonger. Morning-line choice Rock Lobster was scratched, along with Nashly's Runner and Silent Roar, leaving a field of eight.

A gelded son of Malibu Moon, Ah Day is trained by King Leatherbury for The Jim Stable.

"He keeps adding them up, doesn't he?" Leatherbury said. "I think his last two starts were his best races. As a 3-year-old, I think he's the best one we've had."

Ah Day paid $4.20 to win, covering the mile in 1:36.58 on a track rated good.