01/14/2006 12:00AM

Comacina back on short rest in Dixie Flag


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - In winning the Interborough Handicap on New Year's Day, Comacina ran the race of her life off a 10-week layoff. Her trainer, Carlos Martin, believes she can run even better coming back in two weeks.

That's why Martin has decided to wheel Comacina back in Monday's $60,000 Dixie Flag Stakes just 14 days after she won the $70,955 Interborough Handicap over the inner track. Comacina will face nine rivals in the Dixie Flag, a six-furlong race restricted to fillies and mares that did not win a graded stakes in 2005.

In the Interborough, Comacina sped out of the gate and led every step of the way in winning by a half-length over a hard-charging Fast Laner. Comacina ran six furlongs in 1:10.79 and earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 99. Many handicappers will expect Comacina to bounce off that race, but Martin doesn't believe that will happen.

"I think she's going to improve off the race even though she's coming back in two weeks," Martin said. "If she hadn't come out of her race so good, I wouldn't entertain it. She's just training so well."

In addition to wheeling back off a career-best effort, Comacina picks up nine pounds off her Interborough victory and will carry high weight of 123 pounds along with High Peaks and Midtown Miss. Pablo Fragoso rides Comacina from post 3.

High Peaks and Pretty Imposing are two horses that could put early pressure on Comacina. An expected hot pace and a six-pound weight shift could enable Fast Laner to turn the tables on Comacina in this spot.

Fast Laner is also coming off a career-best number in the Interborough, but has been in great form since October. Fast Laner, trained by Richard Schosberg, has won two of her last three starts and is also 2 for 3 over the inner track. She'll break from the rail under Kyle Kaenel.

Storm Minstrel, who finished fifth in the Garland of Roses, makes her first start for trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. She figures to work out a stalking trip under Eibar Coa. Seattle Lake makes her first start since being claimed by Mike Hushion and owner Len Friedman. She has shown enough versatility to be successful from on or off the pace.

Bohemian Lady wires Affectionately

In what amounted to little more than a paid workout, Bohemian Lady glided over a muddy inner track to record a seven-length victory in Saturday's $69,240 Affectionately Handicap. After the Tone finished second, five lengths ahead of Strategy. Provincial was eased on the second turn and vanned off.

Amazing Buy and Freeroll were scratched.

Under Jose Santos, Bohemian Lady was able to get away with soft fractions of 25.95 seconds, 51.92, and 1:16.52. She turned back a mild challenge from After the Tone around the turn and came home an easy winner. Bohemian Lady, a 5-year-old daughter of Carson City, covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:46.41 and returned $3.10.

"I went so easy the first part of the race, that she only run like a half-mile," Santos said. "She ran like she was supposed to run."

It was the sixth victory from 17 career starts for Bohemian Lady, who has now earned $361,706 for Padua Stables. It has not been decided whether she will continue racing or be bred.

NYRA bans Pimlico shippers

Following the reported death of a second horse due to the equine herpes virus at Pimlico, the New York Racing Association has banned horses stabled at Pimlico from shipping to a NYRA track until further notice.

"It seems to be getting a little worse there," NYRA chief examining vet Dr. Anthony Verderosa said. "Since things are going in the wrong direction I put a temporary ban on all horses shipping in from Pimlico."

Verderosa said that horses stabled at Laurel Park would still be allowed to ship to New York "as long as they follow the restrictions I've made," Verderosa said. Laurel shippers need a current health certificate issued within 48 hours of arrival.

* David Lopez, a seven-pound apprentice jockey, ended a 41-race losing streak when he guided Treated Wood ($33.40) to victory in Saturday's nightcap.