11/27/2003 12:00AM

'Bad Boy' experiences a revival

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The remarkable comeback of Chris's Bad Boy will continue Saturday at Woodbine in the $137,375 Kennedy Road Stakes.

Chris's Bad Boy, a 6-year-old gelding trained by Vito Armata, captured the 2000 Prelude Stakes at Louisiana Downs. He subsequently finished fifth in the Grade 1 Super Derby, but his career went into the dumper the next year, and he ended up running for just $10,000 at Fort Erie in the fall of 2001.

Chris's Bad Boy ran well in a series of Fort Erie starter races in 2002, after being claimed for $13,000 by trainer Lou Capi. Armata claimed Chris's Bad Boy from a win for $47,500 on April 19, and has won five races with him in eight starts, on dirt and turf. Among his losses this year was a sixth-place finish behind Soaring Free in the Grade 2 Nearctic Handicap.

Armata gave some of the credit for Chris's Bad Boy's rejuvenation to Capi.

"He used to be speed-crazy, until Lou Capi got him," Armata said. "Lou Capi took the blinkers off him. Now, he can rate a little bit. Look at him in the Nearctic - he was the only horse who took a shot at [Soaring Free], and he just got beat for second. They went [six furlongs] in 1:07.60. I knew then that he was a good horse."

Chris's Bad Boy ran an unbelievable race in the allowance prep for the Kennedy Road, winning by 5 1/4 lengths after putting away two rivals on the front end. His time of 1:08.30 was just .13 off the six-furlong track record, and he earned a Beyer Figure of 114, the highest Beyer recorded at Woodbine this year.

Armata was caught off guard by that huge effort. "I expected him to run good, but not that good," Armata said. "I was going to run him for $100,000, but the race didn't go, so we took a shot in there. He always comes to play. Mud, slop, turf, or a fast track - he doesn't care. He's just loves to run."

Also entered in the six-furlong sprint are Forever Grand, Open Concert, Sophia's Prince, My Lucky Strike, Wild Whiskey, Davids Expectation, and On the Game.

Forever Grand is a Sovereign Award finalist for champion sprinter and champion older horse. He has utilized a late-running style to win four sprint stakes at the meeting.

"He's in good order, and he's going to give us a kick," trainer Bob Tiller said. "If the speed comes back, he'll come running."