09/26/2007 11:00PM

Better Than Bonds tries blinkers to break streak

EmailNeither consistency nor a string of four consecutive triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures has been good enough to produce a victory for Better Than Bonds lately.

Perhaps the addition of blinkers will, however.

After four consecutive second-place finishes - including three as an odds-on favorite - the 5-year-old Better Than Bonds will race with blinkers for the first time in Saturday's $100,000 Kelso Stakes at Delaware Park.

The 1 3/16-mile race drew a field of seven older horses.

Better Than Bonds won his first start of the Delaware meet in a one-mile overnight stakes on April 30. Since then, he has put together four straight Beyers between 101 and 103, only to have to settle for second best each time. His combined margin of defeat in those four races is 4 1/4 lengths.

One of the thorns in Better Than Bonds's side, Barcola, is back to torment him again. The front-running Barcola wired both the Brandywine and the Carpenter Memorial Handicap, with Better Than Bonds second both times.

Barcola may face pressure on the front end in the Kelso from the New York-based Nkosi Reigns, a Grade 3 winner last October who will be making the third start of his form cycle.

The value play may be Smart Growth, a 6-year-old who is 4 for 11 at Delaware. He adds blinkers for this race, and would benefit from a contested pace.