02/28/2008 1:00AM

A fitter Gangbuster should show his best


Gangbuster has lots of reasons to take a significant step forward Saturday night in the $75,000 Sportsman's Paradise for 3-year-olds at Delta Downs. The one-mile race will share a card with the $75,000 Green Oaks, which is led by multiple stakes winner Miss Missile.

Gangbuster, making his second start off a layoff, drops in from graded stakes company and is returning to the site of one of his best races. In his lone start at Delta, he was second to Golden Yank - future third-place finisher in the Grade 3, $1 million Delta Jackpot - in the $150,000 Jean Lafitte on Nov. 9.

Gangbuster made his first start since then on Feb. 18 and finished eighth to Kentucky Derby candidate Denis of Cork in the Grade 3, $250,000 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Gangbuster closed from some 25 lengths back to finish 8 1/4 lengths behind the winner, and earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 81.

"We knew we had a mountain to climb, being off four months, shipping, and first time against really top-class 3-year-olds," said Keith Desormeaux, who co-owns and trains Gangbuster.

"He got a lot out of it. He got more seasoning. He's obviously more fit. And I think he's got more of his game face on now that he has had a race off the layoff."

The field of eight includes Take the Money, who was third in the Jean Laffite, and Crook's Bodgit, who was second last out in the $51,000 Triple Sec, a seven-furlong race at two turns at Delta.

Miss Missile back at Delta

Green Oaks favorite Miss Missile has won two stakes and finished second in the $300,000 Delta Princess in her three starts at Delta. She finished fifth last out in the Grade 3 Silverbulletday at Fair Grounds, leading for about a half-mile before being overtaken by the eventual winner, champion 2-year-old filly Indian Blessing.

In the Green Oaks, Miss Missle will break from the rail and should be prominent under Diego Saenz.

Earlier this meet, Miss Missile won the $100,000 My Trusty Cat and the $55,000 Genesis.

Also in the five-horse Green Oaks is Alina, a stakes winner at Remington Park.