01/03/2006 12:00AM

Bahama John fastest in field, Beyer figs say

Email

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Thursday's featured eighth race came up tough - so tough that the only horse in the field never to have run in a graded stake is the fastest one.

Among the six older males going 1 1/16 miles in this $58,000 allowance/optional claimer, Bahama John is the only runner with triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures on dirt, a feat he achieved in both of his 2005 starts - a big win in the mud last April and a close third in his recent return from a layoff.

, a lightly raced 6-year-old horse, breaks from post 3 with Norberto Arroyo Jr. aboard - outside the Richard Dutrow-trained entry of Golden Man and Byanosejoe - and he may be slightly favored in what will be only his 11th career start.

Golden Man is the only runner entered for the $100,000 claiming price. It is unlikely he will be claimed since there were no takers in his two recent losses, against $40,000 3-year-olds.

had a solid 3-year-old campaign as a come-from-behind sprinter. He won maiden and entry-level allowance sprints here last winter, and finished the year with a win and a third in restricted stakes company.

Byanosejoe, who last time out surprisingly was thrust into the role of pacesetter in his return to the inner track, stretches out to two turns for the first time since his third-place finish at 3-5 in the Federico Tesio last spring. He also switches to apprentice Pedro Morales, his 10th different rider in 13 starts.

The three horses breaking from the outside, Dr. Rockett, Sinister G, and Salic Law, return from respective layoffs of 47, 104, and 173 days.

came into his own on the inner track last winter for trainer Tom Albertrani, and later transferred that good form to the grass. He has been sidelined by muscle problems since setting the early pace and finishing fifth in the Bowling Green Handicap.

"I'm hoping he can continue as well as he did last year," said Albertrani, who saddled Ruthless winner Silvestris on Monday's card. "It's a good allowance race, and we had to find a spot to get him back on track."

Eibar Coa, who rode Silvestris for these connections Monday, rides Salic Law from the outside post.

Normally a hindrance in two-turn routes, the outside may be a blessing in disguise for Salic Law, who has been rank in the gate repeatedly.

"When he's in there a long time he can get uneasy," Albertrani said. "Hopefully, he'll behave himself and just get in and out of there."