12/21/2007 1:00AM

'Chamberlain' unlikely to wilt

EmailNEW ORLEANS - Chamberlain Bridge has won two in a row, and looks dangerous for a three-peat. He looms as the one to beat in Sunday's feature race, the ninth, a second-level allowance at 5 1/2 furlongs on turf.

Chamberlain Bridge has steadily improved since being claimed by owner Maggi Moss and trainer Tom Amoss three races ago, and any forward movement, or even a repeat of his last race, would be enough.

In his first race for Moss and Amoss he threw a dud, finishing fifth in an allowance on the dirt. His next race was a huge step forward, as he beat $25,000 claimers by more than five lengths at six furlongs on the Polytrack at Keeneland.

He was switched to turf for his next and most recent start and found still more upside, winning at 5 1/2 furlongs by wiring a first-level allowance field by 1 3/4 lengths.

"Being by War Chant, Maggi and I were looking forward to trying the turf, and it paid dividends," said Amoss. "When he gets this field Sunday, it will be a real test. The outside post is a concern, but he's got speed, and hopefully that will not be an issue."

While the post is a concern, the weather might be a bigger factor. The turf was inundated with rain on Thursday and is expected to see more rain before Sunday. Chamberlain Bridge finished out of the money in his lone try on dirt.

If the race stays on the turf, Wild Sunday will be trying a new strategy. He ran two weeks ago, finishing second to Tactical Weapon while narrowly holding second place. That race was 7 1/2 furlongs, and might have been a bit too long for him.

"We think he may have distance limitations," said trainer Michael Stidham. "We think a shorter distance, sitting back and making a late run at 5 1/2 furlongs, might be his best shot."

With Wild Sunday likely being held back in the early going, the horse challenging Chamberlain Bridge early is likely to be Groovy Luck, who wired a field of $25,000 claimers last time out. This will be his second race off a year-long layoff, and he figures to improve.

The other obvious contender is Wherethewestbegins, out of Malcolm Pierce's red-hot barn. A well-beaten second last time out to Euroears, he easily defeated all the others in that race, and it appears unlikely he will meet anyone that capable in this race.