04/03/2008 12:00AM

Bay Shore pace sure to be fast


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - The promise of a hot pace and the possibility of a wet track set the stage for Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 Bay Shore Stakes.

The seven-furlong Bay Shore is the seventh of 11 Aqueduct races, and kicks off a $400,000 guaranteed all-stakes pick four with the Excelsior, Wood Memorial, and Carter. Post time for the Bay Shore is 4:09 p.m. Eastern.

None of the eight 3-year-olds entered has won a graded race, but five have recorded Beyer Speed Figures at or near the Bay Shore's historical par of 100, and Gattopardo, Go Go Shoot, and Magical Forest each come off a win in a minor stakes.

Last year's Bay Shore early fractions of 21.76 and 44.35 seconds were blazing fast, and the pace projects to be enervating again. Go Go Shoot wired the six-furlong Jimmy Winkfield and Fred Capossela on the inner track; Gattopardo has never been more than a head off the lead at the pace call; and the quickest of all may be J Be K, a front-running debut winner in track-record time at Saratoga last summer.

"It's a pretty salty heat," said Tim Tullock Jr., trainer of Maryland shipper Gattopardo. "You can make a case for just about everyone in there."

Gattopardo was a much-the-best winner of the Miracle Wood at Laurel last time out. He was briefly considered for the Wood, but will instead try to win his third straight at the Bay Shore distance. A big effort could put him in the picture for the Preakness.

"He's been very effective going seven furlongs," said Tullock. "I don't foresee him not handling a wet track because he trained over enough of them during the winter, but until they do, you never know."

J Be K led early in the 1 1/16-mile Louisiana Derby and tired to finish eighth. He was not beaten up once his tank was empty. He drew the outside post for theBay Shore, and trainer Steve Asmussen did not sound concerned about the plethora of speed.

"I think it's a great spot, and I like where he's at," he said. "He'll do whatever you want him to do. He's very capable."

J Be K has won both of his sprints by lopsided margins while in hand, including an allowance over a sealed wet-fast track at Fair Grounds.

"I think it's a different type of wet racetrack, so it's a concern," said Asmussen.