02/02/2006 1:00AM

Bob and John show returns

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Bob and John, here training at Santa Anita with Larry Damore up, won a 1 1/16-mile allowance race on Jan. 20 by three lengths.

ARCADIA, Calif. - At the least, Bob and John is a very entertaining racehorse.

He often wins in a dazzling style, by numerous lengths, and on one occasion, controversially. His only stakes "win" was taken away from him. Bob and John finished first by six lengths in the Real Quiet Stakes at Hollywood Park in November, but was disqualified and placed third after slightly bothering a rival in early stretch.

starts in Saturday's $100,000 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita, and trainer Bob Baffert is hoping that the colt will win without incident. The Kentucky Derby on May 6 is getting closer each week, and Bob and John is one of the stable's top hopes.

Bob and John will be a heavy favorite in the Grade 3 Sham, run at 1 1/8 miles.

Since the Real Quiet, Bob and John finished third to top 3-year-old Brother Derek in the Grade 1 Hollywood Futurity in December and won an allowance race at 1 1/16 miles by three lengths on Jan. 20.

Baffert has no hesitation in bringing the colt back after two weeks.

"It was a workout," Baffert said of the allowance race. "He's a big, beautiful horse. He looks the part and he needs to learn a little more."

Bob and John has five opponents in the Sham, including Genre, the promoted winner of the Real Quiet Stakes. Woody Be Quick, fourth in the San Rafael Stakes on Jan. 14, is the only other starter with stakes experience. The other starters are Hawkinsville, Sacred Light, and Sky Diving.

finished six lengths behind Bob and John in the Real Quiet, his most recent start. Trainer Ben Cecil decided to give Genre a break after a nine-race 2-year-old campaign.

Genre ran eight times in England from June to October before joining Cecil's stable in the days before the Real Quiet Stakes.

"He's had plenty of time now. He had a hard campaign last year," Cecil said.

In England, Genre won two minor races and finished third in a turf stakes over 1 1/4 miles. Although he has been nominated to the Santa Anita Derby and Triple Crown, Genre must still prove he can be effective on dirt, Cecil said.

"It's hard to judge off that first race," Cecil said of the Real Quiet performance. "I don't think he was 100 percent. We've got to make up six lengths. He showed enough speed that I don't think he'll be too far off the front."