01/14/2002 1:00AM

Beyers imply small field is big puzzle


JAMAICA, N.Y. - The field is small but picking the winner isn't easy, because five of the six horses entered in Wednesday's featured eighth race at Aqueduct ran virtually identical Beyer Speed Figures in their most recent sprints.

The six-furlong, $45,000 allowance is for non-winners of three races lifetime, and everyone in the field is a newly turned 4-year-old, with the exception of Prime Customer.

Prime Customer just turned 5, and he will add blinkers after coming up two noses short of a victory in this condition in his final start of 2001. He breaks from the outside with Shaun Bridgmohan aboard.

Prime Customer has a history of frustrating finishes in six lifetime starts on the inner track, running in the money five times without winning, including four second-place finishes for trainer David Donk. Along with Southern Sweets, he has been able to reach Beyers in the mid-to-upper 90's, but on the inner track his peak is 84.

Southern Sweets ran an 83 while giving futile chase to six-time winner Run Kush Run first time back from a layoff, and he has since breezed a bullet half-mile for trainer Dominick Schettino. It may prove significant that the last time Southern Sweets was second time back from a layoff he graduated from the maiden ranks at Delaware Park with a 15-point Beyer move to a figure of 96.

Raul Rojas has a return call on Southern Sweets, who drew post 4.

The three horses toward the inside are Lech, Laser Con, and Gotitgoin, each of whom Beyered in the 82-84 range in his last sprint.

Lech, who had his best success in seven-furlong races at Woodbine last year, made a dull local debut on Dec. 29, stopping to a walk after setting the early pace in a race at 1 1/16 miles. Before that, however, he was a sharp allowance winner in Canada, earning an 84 Beyer, and a return to that form would make him a threat. Lech, whose maiden win came from the No. 1 post, gets a switch to Aaron Gryder.

Laser Con has run second five times in his last seven starts for Richard Dutrow Jr., including his last start in a $40,000 claimer, when he squandered a two-length lead in deep stretch.

Gotitgoin has run the two best figures of his life coinciding with a switch to the inner track. He steps up after erasing a 10-length deficit to win an entry-level allowance sprint, and will again be ridden by Norberto Arroyo Jr.

Bianco Appeal, a close fifth beaten roughly two lengths by Prime Customer last out, rounds out the field from post 5 with Jose Espinoza.

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