08/03/2002 12:00AM

Federal Highway takes Lyttle Handicap


SANTA ROSA, Calif. ? Federal Highway, making his first start around two turns overcame a troubled trip and re-rallied after falling behind late to defeat Blue Slew's Shoes by a nose to win the $53,540 James F. Lyttle Memorial Handicap on Friday at the Sonoma County Fair.

Favored Federal Highway ($4.40) bumped with Rio's Chase after the break and raced four wide around both turns in the 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds. The winning time was 1:42.95.

Federal Highway made a strong move on the second turn and was leading by two lengths in the stretch when Blue Slew's Shoes made a strong run, passing him in the final 50 yards.

"We got a good head bob," said winning trainer Brent Sumja, who had earlier won the Lyttle with Bai Brun and Mountain Skier. "When that horse came along side, he dug in. That's what you're looking for."

Federal Highway, who has three wins and two seconds in five starts, earned $23,410 to increase his lifetime earnings to $64,180.