02/22/2005 12:00AM

Eye Dazzler takes drop from stakes

Eye Dazzler comes off a tough-trip seventh-place finish in the Banshee Breeze Handicap last month.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Trainer Mark Hennig described Eye Dazzler's effort in her last start, the Banshee Breeze Handicap here, as a "really bad experience." Eye Dazzler figures to have a better experience when she drops to face optional claiming and allowance company in Thursday's $37,000 feature at Gulfstream Park.

broke slowly, was hung wide and tired badly after making a run at the leaders midway through the 1 1/8-mile Banshee Breeze. She checked home seventh, nearly 36 lengths behind the winner, Pampered Princess, in that Jan. 23 race. The performance was a far cry from the last two times Eye Dazzler raced at Gulfstream, an easy allowance victory and a near miss in the Grade 2 Davona Dale Stakes last winter.

"She chipped a knee and we had to give her time off after the Davona Dale," Hennig said. "She came back well but I shouldn't have run her in that last one. It was a mile and one-eighth coming off another little layoff and then she got a bad trip to boot. Nothing was right about that race. This time I've got her back doing what she wants to do, going a mile, and I'm hoping a win here would be a real confidence booster for her."

Eye Dazzler won going a similar one-turn mile over a muddy track at Aqueduct in her 2004 finale. She will be ridden again by Eibar Coa while breaking from post 4 on Thursday.

, who finished second in two similar races earlier in the meet, is the one to fear. Excessed, trained by Mike Mitchell and ridden by Jerry Bailey, was beaten a half-length by Childress following a stretch-long battle at a mile on Feb. 4. She earned an 88 Beyer Speed Figure, just 1 point shy of her career best.

, whose only two previous starts in the U.S. came on grass, will switch back to the main track while dropping out of graded stakes company for trainer John Ward. An Argentine-bred filly, My Dear Lady finished a troubled seventh but was beaten only four lengths when closing out her 2004 season in Calder's La Prevoyante Handicap.

Now 5, My Dear Lady was a multiple Group 2 winner on grass in her native Argentina last season, and was also Group 1 placed on dirt.

Completing the field are Fall Fashion, Jennaslilprincess, Picture Gallery, Fiesta, American Miss and Really Royal.