07/29/2003 11:00PM

Allwood stands out among five


SANTA ROSA, Calif. - A small but interesting field has signed up for Friday's $40,000-added James F. Lyttle Memorial Handicap at the Sonoma County Fair.

Only five 3-year-olds were nominated for the 1 1/16-mile race, and all five entered, the same number as ran in the Pleasanton Stakes on July 2 at Pleasanton.

Allwood, second the in Pleasanton, looms the one to beat, but two sprinters making their first starts around two turns make the race interesting from a wagering perspective.

Allwood could not handle runaway winner Obermeister at Pleasanton, but ran second the whole way. Although he lost by 3 1/2 lengths, he was 6 1/2 lengths in front of the third-place finisher.

His primary rivals are Alphabetic, a game winner of a six-furlong allowance race at Pleasanton, and Jets Fan, who has three firsts and three seconds in six career starts.

Alphabetic, who has two wins and a second in his three career starts, has a bullet work over this track. His stalking style and strong finishes make him appear dangerous in Friday's race.

Jets Fan can't be overlooked for trainer Brent Sumja, who won the Lyttle for the third time last year with Federal Highway. He has not raced since June 4 when he was defeated by 7 1/2 lengths by Allwood.

Grandpa Chan, third to Alphabetic at Pleasanton before winning a one-mile allowance race at the Solano County Fair, and claimer Day Flyer round out the field.

A specialist invades rematch

Surprise Halo and World Light, who finished a neck apart in the Alamedan Handicap at Pleasanton, will renew their rivalry in Saturday's $100,000 Joseph T. Grace Handicap.

But the one to watch could be track specialist Aly Aly O, 2 for 2 lifetime here after an easier-than-looks allowance victory over the track last week.

"It could be a little too fast," trainer Steve Specht said. "He came out of the race pretty darn good, without huffing and puffing too bad."

Specht kept the 6-year-old gelding stabled here with thoughts of running him back in the Grace.

"It might sound stupid to say a horse eligible for nonwinners-of-two has a chance in a $100,000 race, but I think he does," Specht said.

Debonair Joe, who went from the claiming ranks to victories in the Grade 3 Vernon Underwood and Grade 1 Malibu last winter, is also being considered after finishing second in a comeback race at Canterbury on July 19.