05/07/2008 11:00PM

Banjo Picker eligible to improve


Banjo Picker tries to rebound from one of the worst performances of his long career in the $75,000 Lyman Sprint Handicap at Philadelphia Park.

The seven-furlong race, restricted to Pennsylvania-breds, drew a field of nine older horses.

A winner of 14 of 39 and $528,161, the 8-year-old Banjo Picker was up close to an extremely hot pace last time out while facing open company in the March 18 Bensalem and backed up to finish seventh, beaten nearly 12 lengths. It was his worst finish since he was seventh, beaten 13 lengths, going 1 1/16 miles in a first-level allowance in July 2003 and his lowest Beyer (68) since August 2004.

Back in with statebreds, Banjo Picker figures to improve. In his last five restricted stakes, including his first start of 2008, Banjo Picker has four wins and a second in last year's Lyman.

The main danger is Delaware shipper Joey Carson, who merits respect despite the fact he has turned in four subpar performances in a row since winning a high-priced optional claimer at his home track last October. In two previous trips to Philly Park, Joey Carson won the $100,000 Gallant Bob Handicap in 2005 and was second against Pennsylvania-breds in the 2006 Devil's Honor. Returning from a winter campaign at Oaklawn Park, Joey Carson has worked extremely well since returning to Delaware last month.