10/20/2005 12:00AM

Bengal Lore back after narrow loss


ARCADIA, Calif. - Even the short stretch at Fairplex Park could not help Bengal Lore lead throughout the Barretts Juvenile Stakes last month.

"We just got nailed at the wire," trainer Ted H. West said of the colt's runner-up finish after leading by two lengths with a furlong remaining.

The Barretts Juvenile was Bengal Lore's stakes debut. Saturday, Bengal Lore returns as a top contender in the $75,000 Sunny Slope Stakes at Santa Anita.

The race is at six furlongs, a half-furlong shorter than the Barretts Juvenile, and West wants jockey Felipe Martinez to use Bengal Lore's speed.

"Speed is the way he does it," West said of Bengal Lore. "He's definitely got heart for a speed horse, and that's a great combo."

is one of six entrants in the Sunny Slope, a race with plenty of pace. Funky Friends, who won an $85,000 claiming race for maidens by 8 1/2 lengths on Sept. 30, and Hounddogman, who has not started since winning a maiden race at Pimlico by 13 lengths in April, have shown speed.

led throughout when he won a 6 1/2-furlong maiden race here Oct. 9, but trainer Brian Koriner is hoping to stalk the front-runners instead of setting the pace. The colt was supplemented to the Sunny Slope on Thursday for $1,500. In his debut at Del Mar, Within Reason stalked the pace and finished a half-length behind Outlaw Jones.

"Everything is good," Koriner said. "I think we'll take a hold and teach him something. It looks like there is a lot of speed in there. He finished well in his first race at Del Mar."

The Thought Occurs is the only stakes winner in the field. He was promoted from second to first upon the disqualification of Don Jaun Con in the Beau Brummel Stakes at Fairplex Park on Sept. 14.

The Thought Occurs finished third in his debut at Arlington Park on Aug. 3 when trained by Don Von Hemel, and was third in his first start for trainer Doug O'Neill in a maiden race at Del Mar on Aug. 27.

In the Beau Brummel, run at 6 1/2 furlongs, The Thought Occurs was near the front throughout, steadied at the quarter pole, and was beaten a length.

"He's shown a lot of guts and he's a stakes winner," O'Neill said.