08/14/2001 12:00AM

Byrne has new hot youngster


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - When you've trained colt and filly 2-year-old champions in the same year, it's safe to say you know something about juvenile form. So when trainer Pat Byrne says he hopes Pass Rush can develop into a top 2-year-old this year, it's safe to say his five opponents at Arlington on Thursday are in deep water.

Pass Rush will be heavily favored in the $60,000-added Gilded Time Stakes, a six-furlong sprint for 2-year-olds that serves as a prep for the Sept. 6 Spectacular Bid. That race is a prep for Arlington's top 2-year-old race, the Grade 2 Arlington-Washington Futurity on Sept. 29.

Pass Rush could be headed down that road for the Churchill Downs-based Byrne, who trained 2-year-olds Favorite Trick and Countess Diana to Breeders' Cup wins in 1997. Alternatively, the colt could wind up at Belmont Park this fall in a top-level 2-year-old stakes. "Hopefully, he could be a Breeders' Cup kind of horse," Byrne said. "He's very relaxed in his training. He does everything the right way."

Swifty Farms bred and owned Pass Rush, a son of the first-crop sire Crown Ambassador, and while Byrne has trained the colt from the start, Pass Rush was sold to owner Michael Tabor about a month ago. The purchase was based in part on Byrne's recommendation, and in part on the obvious ability Pass Rush showed winning a July 7 Churchill maiden race by more than six lengths, running six furlongs in 1:09.66.

"He's going to run two turns for sure," Byrne said. "I didn't even realize he had as much speed as he showed in his last start," in which Pass Rush contested a fast pace from the start.

"He's been doing really well. I backed off a little bit after his last race, which was kind of tough on him. This race is a nice step for him. We'll know more where to go after Thursday."

Pass Rush, to be ridden by Rene Douglas, faces Canterbury Juvenile winner Purple Pleasure, who breaks from post 1 for trainer Larry Rivelli and jockey Ramsey Zimmerman. The field also includes recent maiden winner Super Striker and Double Zero Seven, who won a soft allowance race here July 28.

Thursday's nine-race program also features a good third-level turf allowance that showcases the talents of the tough-luck Holy Conflict, a close third and fourth in two allowance tries here, and Kick Boxer, who had a troubled trip in the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap when he last raced.

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