03/16/2009 11:00PM

Believeinmenow looks sharp


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - In about the closest thing to an overnight stakes, five older males will square off in Thursday's featured eighth race, a $57,000 high-end optional claimer at a mile and 70 yards.

Believeinmenow and Broadway Producer, currently in the best form of their lives, figure to attract most of the play.

Believeinmenow is a former speed merchant who set the pace in the 2007 Dwyer against the likes of Any Given Saturday and Nobiz Like Shobiz and then campaigned primarily on turf last year for Jim Bond.

Returned off a 106-day layoff, Believeinmenow put up the fastest race of his career to finish first in an optional claimer with third-level conditions, but he was disqualified to third for coming in slightly in deep stretch. Four weeks later, he showed that effort was no fluke, taking charge with a four-wide sweep on the far turn and drawing off.

"His style has changed a little bit," Bond said. "He's grown up and has been handling the inner track very well this winter. This looks like a good spot, and hopefully he can keep rolling along the way he has been."

Broadway Producer showed versatility in Maryland-bred stakes last fall, winning the Maryland Million Turf in October and the Jennings Handicap on dirt with a career-best 101 Beyer Speed Figure.

After dropping a hard-fought decision to Barrier Reef in the Evening Attire Stakes here Jan. 17, Broadway Producer went back to Laurel for last month's General George Handicap and was compromised by a slow pace.

Temecula Creek is the lone entrant in for the $100,000 claiming price. He has never won past six furlongs but ran well for second going a mile last June at Belmont. He drew the rail for his first-ever attempt going two turns.

The enigmatic Pink Viper, winner of the 2007 Count Fleet, stretches out after a sprint tune-up eight days ago and can contend if he's in the mood. He posted a 108 Beyer winning an overnight stakes here last winter, but has been out of the money in six subsequent tries.

Bobby Sands, who used to have some early speed, gets a switch to jockey C.C. Lopez. He ran a new top Beyer on a sloppy inner track back in December, so he could benefit from a forecast that calls for a chance of showers.