10/27/2004 12:00AM

Boltin' Brian looks to benefit from speed duel

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CHICAGO - It is not that hard to guess what's going to transpire in the featured 10th race Friday at Hawthorne. There are at least two and perhaps three or four pure speed horses in this entry-level turf allowance race. More difficult to divine is whom a speed duel would benefit most.

Boltin' Brian could be the one to capitalize. Or it could be Magic Jade, or Pat the Winner, or Jink. The starting gate will be full, and you don't often see horses coming from the clouds and winning on the Hawthorne grass course. The winning formula Friday must also take into account the unpredictable - racing luck.

Jockey Seth Martinez seems to have a knack for making his own luck in turf races. Martinez, who came to Chicago at the end of the Canterbury Park meet, has nine wins here while seeing limited action, and most of them have been on grass. Martinez is heavy for a jockey, and his size limits his opportunities. But trainer Hugh Robertson and Robertson's son Mac have been putting Martinez on most everything they enter. That includes Boltin' Brian, who can score his second career win Friday.

Boltin' Brian, a Broad Brush gelding owned by John Castro, made three starts for Hugh Robertson last spring, but he won his maiden in his first start back from a layoff, on Sept. 9 at Arlington. No small matter: That race was Boltin' Brian's grass debut. He was entered back here Oct. 8, but was rained off turf. Though Boltin' Brian beat only $50,000 maiden claimers in his turf win, he showed decent acceleration and the tactical speed to stay within range of the leaders.

In fact, Martinez could have Boltin' Brian in the first flight behind the main pace horses Primm and Outer Bounds, and the pace-pressers, Respectabeau and Western Song. The horse might be good enough to take it from there.

Cloudy's Knight tunes up on dirt

With a clean trip, Cloudy's Knight might have won the Grade 3 Carey Memorial Handicap here Oct. 9. But Cloudy's Knight was in trouble from start to finish, and wound up a hard-charging third, beaten less than one length. Cloudy's Knight is a grass horse, but Wednesday at Hawthorne, he breezed five furlongs on the main track in 1:02.80, staying on target for a start in the Grade 3 River Cities Handicap next month at Churchill Downs.

"That's exactly where we're going," trainer Frank Kirby said. "He's still doing really good."

* Kirby is shooting for his second straight Chicago training title, having won at the Arlington meet. Going into Saturday's races, he was atop the Hawthorne standings with 10 wins, one more than Steve Asmussen and Tom Tomillo.