01/09/2007 12:00AM

Daytime Promise poised to end slide


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Here's something that sounds familiar: a stretch-running 3-year-old who was a stakes winner last year starts for the first time at age 4, and is still eligible for second-level allowance conditions.

No, it's not Jazil, the Belmont Stakes winner who managed to finish second at 2-5 in last Friday's eighth race. This time it's the filly Daytime Promise, who is winless in seven starts since taking the Busanda Stakes on Aqueduct's inner track last January.

Four of those seven defeats came as the favorite, but if Daytime Promise runs back to her photo-finish loss two weeks ago, in which she matched her lifetime top Beyer Speed Figure of 88, she will be tough to deny in Thursday's third race at a mile and 70 yards - even though she is skipping a condition and running in a $50,000 allowance/optional claimer with third-level conditions.

In her last start, the Gary Contessa-trained Daytime Promise raced far back through the opening half-mile, rallied wide leaving the far turn, and just missed catching repeat winner A Bit of Pressure, who had opened a four-length lead in midstretch.

Though Thursday's five-horse race is technically a more advanced condition, Daytime Promise appears to have a beneficial pace scenario against four rivals who all are stretching out from six-furlong sprints. The race presents a potential speed duel between the New York-bred Little Miss Zip, a game winner sprinting against open company in her first start at the meet, and the returning Candy Box, who was on the early lead at Woodbine in all four of her starts during the second half of 2006.

"This might be an easier spot than the two-other-than she ran in the other day," said Contessa. "I think she needs to get back to winning, and I thought this was a winning spot for her."

Daytime Promise is running back relatively soon after a big-figure effort.

"I don't see it being a problem," Contessa said. "She came out of her last race pretty good and seems to be training really well."

Also looking to come from off the pace are Game Card and Lila Paige.

Game Card, claimed for $50,000 in her return from a layoff, stretches out after sprinting twice in December for trainer Ed Barker. She was victimized by a speed-favoring track Dec. 1, and last time out hit the gate and was off slowly against an eventual wire-to-wire winner who got away with a slow first quarter-mile.