02/27/2004 12:00AM

Ema Bovary to go on road


ALBANY, Calif. - Ema Bovary, the top horse stabled in northern California, will race in New York next month and then at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day.

Trainer Larry Ross, still basking in the 5-year-old Chilean mare's record-setting victory in last Sunday's Grade 3 Las Flores at Santa Anita, says his star will run next in the Grade 2, $150,000 Distaff Breeders' Cup Handicap at Aqueduct on March 27 before running in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff Handicap at Churchill Downs on May 1. Both races are seven furlongs.

"She runs 6 1/2 [furlongs] really well, so she should handle seven," Ross said. "This seems a logical progression to Grade 2.

"Like most South American horses, she's not Breeders' Cup eligible so she won't be running for a full purse [in New York], but I think it will be an easier spot for her than the other race we looked at at Keeneland," Ross said, referring to the $175,000 Vinery Madison, also at seven furlongs, on April 7. "I'm still trying to pick easy spots. I think all the better horses may still be in Florida in late March, and the Keeneland race would be tougher."

Ema Bovary is riding an eight-race winning streak. The Las Flores, her first graded stakes win, was her most impressive race yet. Her 1:08.02 clocking was a stakes record and earned her a career-best 104 Beyer.

Lopez aboard for three records in recent months

Roberto Gonzalez, Ema Bovary's jockey, is the consensus pick as northern California's top speed rider.

But David Lopez can stake a claim to riding the fastest.

On Wednesday, Lopez guided Linear Lights to a Golden Gate Fields track record of 1:01.99 for 5 1/2 furlongs. Earlier in the meeting, he rode Smoke Till Dawn in his record-setting 1:07.45 performance at six furlongs. Last August, he set a turf course record at Bay Meadows for five furlongs in 56.71 seconds aboard Lytle Creek.

"I'm happy about it, but I was just on a couple of fast horses," Lopez said. "These last two horses here really ran fast.

"When I let him [Linear Lights] run, he just wanted to go," the jockey said. "When I passed them in the stretch, he just kept moving strong. It didn't matter that he was a $4,000 horse. I didn't try to pour it on. I just tried to win."

N.W. Jenkins Jr. claimed Linear Lights, a 4-year-old gelding, from trainer Terry Gillihan.

"It's always nice to have one run fast," Gillihan said. "That's my first track record except for maybe the first year at Emerald Downs."

* Can I Call You Dad returns to action on Sunday for the first time since finishing fifth in the Bay Meadows Oaks last June 14. She meets four other fillies and mares in a 1 1/16-mile allowance with an optional claiming price of $50,000. She should get a good stalking trip behind Dancing Spray, a sprinter stretching out for the first time.