03/14/2002 12:00AM

Campbell's top pair get a rematch


Private Ryan had his five-race winning streak snapped when he finished second to Lyracist in last month's John B. Campbell Handicap. Private Ryan has the opportunity to turn the tables on Lyracist when they meet again in the $50,000 Harrison E. Johnson Memorial Handicap at Laurel Park.

The top two from the Campbell will be joined by five others in the 1 1/8-mile Johnson.

Private Ryan really started to turn things around last fall when he reeled off four wins for trainer Tim Tullock in optional claimers at Delaware and Laurel. In his 5-year-old debut, Private Ryan won the Native Dancer Stakes by three lengths on Jan. 21. That effort propelled him into the favorite's role in the Campbell, but Private Ryan was no match for Lyracist, a 16-1 longshot, who barreled by the favorite in the stretch for a 1 3/4-length win.

Lyracist, trained by Michael Petro, carried 113 pounds in the Campbell, three less than Private Ryan. He will now carry 117, one less than Private Ryan's 118.

Private Ryan, who drew the rail, will be ridden by Harry Vega.

Lyracist, with Jeremy Rose, the 2001 Eclipse Award winning apprentice in the saddle, drew post 2.

Saratoga Games, coupled in the wagering with Pickupspeed, figures to improve off his fourth-place finish in the Campbell as the second choice.

Trained by Tony Dutrow, Saratoga Games was making his 4-year-old debut in the Campbell and his first start since winning the Northern Dancer Stakes by eight lengths on Nov. 24. Saratoga Games has trained sharply since the Campbell.

First Amendment, the main speed in here, earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 110 by finishing second in a $50,000 optional claimer at Laurel on Feb. 1. His Beyer is among the highest in the country this year for races more than a mile. In the Native Dancer, First Amendment was no match for Private Ryan and finished fifth, 17 lengths behind the winner after setting a quick pace and tiring.

P Day also registered a career-high Beyer of 109 in his last start, a $50,000 optional claimer at seven furlongs, which he won by five lengths. P Day is probably better suited to shorter distances.

Do I Ever, a longshot, completes the field.

for Laurel entries.

Subscribers: to purchase past performances for Laurel.

Non-subscribers: to purchase past performances for Laurel.