11/05/2004 12:00AM

Bang tries to stay hot off layoff


Bang must overcome a near five-month layoff to win his seventh straight race Sunday in the $53,700 KLAQ Handicap at Sunland Park. A 5 1/2-furlong race, the KLAQ drew a strong field of seven, including Day Trader and Cheyenne Breeze.

Bang is the 122-pound highweight in the KLAQ. He last raced May 15, when he won the $44,000 Express Handicap at Albuquerque in New Mexico, covering 5 1/2 furlongs in a razor-sharp time of 1:02.60. It was the sixth straight win for Bang, whose streak started in November 2003 following a six-month layoff. He won a $25,000 claiming race at Sunland and then racked up another four wins at the track, including three stakes victories. Bang was later voted champion sprinter at Sunland.

Tony Noguez, who has been aboard Bang throughout his win streak, has the mount again Sunday.

Eric Kruljac, who wins at an above-average rate with his layoff prospects, trains Bang. In his final work for the KLAQ, Bang went four furlongs in 46.20 seconds.

A 4-year-old by Ballistic Billy, Bang tends to stalk and pounce, and he could get a nice pace to chase Sunday courtesy of horses like Cheyenne Breeze and Day Trader. Each set the pace the last time he won, with Cheyenne Breeze turning in a huge effort in his last start Sept. 25, when he won the six-furlong Oklahoma Classics Day Sprint in a sharp 1:09.20.

Medium Rare, who finished second in the race, returned to win his next start. Cheyenne Breeze is co-owned and trained by Gary Cross, and he will be ridden by Ken Tohill.

Day Trader won an optional claiming race wire to wire Aug. 27.