04/17/2007 12:00AM

Family rivalries a byproduct of Furlough


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Had Shakespeare been a racing fan, he would've loved the subplots of Thursday's $65,000 Furlough Stakes, where it's father against son and brother against brother.

The six-furlong restricted stakes drew a field of six older fillies and mares that includes Grecian Lover, a close second in the Grade 2 Bed o' Roses on Aqueduct's main track last April for Allen Jerkens, and Ring True, a two-time stakes winner as a 3-year-old for Jimmy Jerkens.

Also in the lineup are Smart and Fancy and Last Romance for the Brothers Dutrow.

Smart and Fancy, last-out winner of the restricted Break Through Stakes at odds-on, and a winner of 7 of her last 10 for Tony Dutrow, may go favored again.

Last Romance, trained by Rick Dutrow Jr., will be making her first start since finishing third in the Grade 1 Gazelle at Belmont Park last fall.

The Bard of Avon would also appreciate that May Day Vow and long shot Secret Brook seem destined to cross swords in a duel.

To be in front, or not to be in front, that is the question for the Mike Hushion-trained May Day Vow, who has won all four of her starts when on the lead after the opening quarter-mile, including a Beyer Speed Figure of 103 on the Big A's main track.

May Day Vow returned from a two-month layoff in the Grade 2 Distaff Handicap last out, and forced a suicidal pace before tiring in the final furlong. A similar show of speed may be enough to outsprint the Debra Divitto-trained Secret Brook, even though Secret Brook led early in five straight races before being bumped at the start of the Break Through.

As fate would have it, a daughter of Furlough's, the maiden Pension, may go off as the favorite in race 6.

Two graded winners getting back to action

Race 3, a third-level allowance at a mile out of the chute originally scheduled for last Sunday, features the respective comebacks of Diamond Stripes and Sunriver, who were graded stakes winners as 3-year-olds in 2006, and wintered at Palm Meadows in Florida.

Diamond Stripes, who has won all three of his lifetime starts, was sidelined by surgery to remove an ankle chip after overcoming trouble to take the Grade 3 Pegasus. Sunriver, last year's Peter Pan winner, came out of the Jim Dandy with an ankle infection, and was slow to come around before being given the rest of the year off by Todd Pletcher.