07/14/2003 11:00PM

Cowdin winners matched


The winners of the two most recent runnings of the Cowdin Stakes for juveniles meet in Belmont's featured $47,000 allowance race Thursday. The six-furlong race for nonwinners of three has attracted a field of seven horses, ages 3 and up.

Boston Bull, who won last year's Cowdin in just his third lifetime start, will be making his 3-year-old debut and first start since a third-place finish in last November's Nashua. He has trained steadily over Belmont's main track for Todd Pletcher, who with 34 wins at the meet through Sunday needed two more to equal Frank Martin's record, set in 1982. Boston Bull is 2 for 2 over Belmont's main track.

Sunray Spirit hasn't won since his 2 3/4-length victory in the 2001 Cowdin.

Now 4, Sunray Spirit has made only nine starts. He finished second behind next-out winner Mike's Classic in his latest return race, following a layoff of nearly five months. Sunray Spirit is trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, who has won with 18 of 41 starters at the meet, so he will draw the attention of bettors.

Black Silk, a 7-year-old gelding, holds an experience edge over his rivals and will be making his 33rd lifetime start Thursday. Although he has won only twice, he has finished on the board in 14 additional starts and could offer bettors some value. He has shown an ability to make up ground late and could benefit if Boston Bull and Sunray Spirit hook up early.

Black Silk is trained by Laurie Lafavers, who is 0 for 11 at the meet but had a winner disqualified and placed second when Redhead Riot was first under the wire June 27. Of Lafavers's 11 starters here, seven have been in the money.

Black Silk finished second at odds of 17-1 in his New York debut and first start for Lafavers on June 14. It was his first race since last August at Del Mar.

"We had him for about two months before the race and we had him pretty close to ready for his start back, but it was a long layoff," said Lafavers, who has been training horses for about one year and has a six-horse stable at Belmont. "He's a really nice horse who is always trying and puts up big numbers. We hope to get lucky and see him get there first one day.

"He did run great last time, has had a nice workout in the interim, and while we know this is a tough field we think he can make an impact."