04/10/2003 11:00PM

Blushing Rahy set to rebound

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Consider it the calm before the storm. With a final influx of racing stock expected in the coming week with the closing of Oaklawn Park, Lone Star Park should be in a better position to fill some of the richer allowance races offered in its condition book. But for Sunday's program, fans will have to make do with a single entry-level allowance race, which will be run as the seventh race on the 10-race card.

The $29,000 feature is for fillies and mares, 4-years-old and up, going 1 1/16 miles on turf.

Trainer Steve Asmussen has assumed his position atop the trainer's standings once again and has a very good chance of adding to his lead with Blushing Rahy, the stronger half of an entry owned by Rosendo Parra. Blushing Rahy will be making her second start for Asmussen after spending most of last year in the barn of Vladimir Cerin in Southern California.

Blushing Rahy started nine times for Cerin, finishing second or third five times in entry-level allowance races at Santa Anita, Hollywood, and Del Mar. Following a loss as the favorite in the Kachina Handicap at Turf Paradise in December, Blushing Rahy joined the Asmussen stable at Fair Grounds, where she finished sixth as the favorite at this level March 10.

Blushing Rahy has done best when pressing the early pace, but found herself nine lengths behind at the first call in her Fair Grounds race, which was on the turf. While a come-from-behind style is usually favorable over that turf course, Blushing Rahy never showed any interest in what turned out to be her worst performance since she was a maiden. Corey Lanerie has the mount on Sunday.

The most logical threats to Blushing Rahy are Crafty Taylor and Tiff's Bonzai. Crafty Taylor competed in sprints in her last two starts, finishing fifth in both. She's been far more effective in recent attempts around two turns, and an improved effort is expected on the stretch to a longer distance Sunday. Regular jockey E.J. Perrodin will ride.

Tiff's Bonzai has finished second or third all four times she's competed on turf at Lone Star. She made her 2003 debut at Fair Grounds March 28 in a $40,000 claiming race for nonwinners of two over the main track, and she ran third, beaten 2 1/2 lengths. Considering it was her first race in over six months, she figures to be a lot stronger for Sunday's race.

Eddie Martin Jr., leading jockey through the first five days of the meet, rides.