02/28/2007 12:00AM

Dry Martini has big figures but no recent wins

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Dry Martini's near-miss fourth-place finish in the Sunshine Millions Classic had his trainer, Harry Benson, shaken and stirred.

"His last race, I know he should have been moved up to third; might have even won it, he had so much trouble," said Benson, whose horse was beaten just 1 1/2 lengths in the $1 million race. "He was in so much trouble down the backside; in and out, unbelievable. He came four or five wide. The horse that finished third [Silver Wagon] gave him a pretty good bump.

"But when you get $80,000 for fourth you don't want to squawk too much. I was just tickled."

The stakes won't be nearly as high Friday at Gulfstream Park when Dry Martini faces six rivals in a third-level allowance race with a purse of $49,500. The race will be contested at 1 1/8 miles on the main track.

Dry Martini has recorded four consecutive triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures without winning a race. He has two seconds, a third, and the fourth in the Sunshine Millions. Benson believes Dry Martini is doing just as well now as he was entering any of those previous races.

"He's doing excellent, really doing tremendous," Benson said Wednesday. "The only thing that bothers me is everything is going too good."

Dry Martini, whose last win came on Oct. 1 at Calder, will break from post 4 under Cornelio Velasquez.

Dry Martini, a 4-year-old gelded son of Slew Gin Fizz, would benefit from a contested pace in front of him. The primary speed horses appear to be inside of him with Belongs to Joe and Little Cliff.

Laity, a multiple-stakes-winning son of Pulpit, could also show some speed under Edgar Prado. Laity finished last in a third-level allowance race here on Feb. 4, a result that puzzled trainer Frank Brothers.

"He had a terrible race back the other day, but he's doing fine," Brothers said. "Hopefully, he'll get back in the game. He trained good enough to run good and he didn't. Sometimes it takes them awhile to get back in the swing of things."

Sleek John has won his last two dirt races, both at 1 1/8 miles, and should get a ground-saving trip from the rail under Rene Douglas.

Blazing Rate and Itsawonderfulife complete the field.