02/09/2002 1:00AM

Amoss has runner out for reversal


NEW ORLEANS - It's hard not to believe in trainer Tom Amoss at this stage of the game. Nearly three months into the Fair Grounds meet, Amoss has maintained nearly a 40-percent win rate with more than 100 starters at the meet, though through Friday's card he still trailed Steve Asmussen by six wins in the standings.

In Monday's featured ninth race, Amoss has Almost Home, who will attempt to turn the tables on Valid Prime. The two met in a Jan. 26 race here, like Monday's a second-level allowance with a $40,000 claiming option, and both were beaten by True Concern, who was entered in Sunday's Whirlaway Handicap. Almost Home was in winning position turning for home but lacked the necessary final surge and was beaten a length by Valid Prime, who surged to the lead in upper stretch only to be collared late.

Almost Home had not raced in almost five weeks when he made his last start and came back Feb. 4 to breeze four furlongs in 48.20 seconds, fastest of 67 works on the day.

Valid Prime, three for 20 in his career, likes to cut things close, and his last two wins have come by a neck and a nose.

The race also includes Daring Bid, trainer Todd Pletcher's only dirt winner of this meet, and Stormscope, who terrorized the starter allowance ranks at this meet last season.

Change in plans for Bonapaw

Bonapaw is out of Tuesday's Mardi Gras Handicap and will be pointed for a start in the $100,000 Taylor's Special Handicap here on Feb. 24.

Trainer Tucker Alonzo said Bonapaw apparently has not been extended an invitation to run in the Dubai Golden Shaheen, a sprint race on the Dubai World Cup undercard, a development that led to the change in plans. Alonzo had picked out the Mardi Gras as a good spot for Bonapaw because of its timing with regard to the Golden Shaheen.

The Mardi Gras would have been Bonapaw's first two-turn race in well over a year and only his second start on turf, a surface on which he won his only start.

Instead, Bonapaw will follow the same path he did last year, running in the Taylor's Special, the Pelleteri Breeders' Cup, and then heading to Oaklawn for the Grade 3 Count Fleet, which he easily won last year.

* Dollar Bill had the longest work of his current comeback Saturday, breezing six furlong in 1:15. Trainer Dollar Bill has not committed to a race for Dollar Bill.

* The stakes-bound 3-year-old Clergy worked five furlongs in 1:01.20 on Saturday.