10/16/2002 11:00PM

Flying Pidgeon perfect spot for 'Band' to win again


Few horses are capable of firing their best shot off a layoff of nearly six months. But that's just what Band Is Passing did when he drew off to a two-length victory in last month's Miami Mile Breeders' Cup Handicap.

The 6-year-old Band Is Passing earned a 105 Beyer Speed Figure in the Miami Mile, his first start since early March. Given a seven-week freshening after that effort, Band Is Passing looks even more formidable in Saturday's $100,000 Flying Pidgeon Handicap at Calder.

In 13 career starts on Calder's turf course, Band Is Passing has won eight times, including two stakes last season.

Doowaley, an Irish-bred 6-year-old who is winless in four starts since arriving from Italy, might have the best shot at upsetting Band Is Passing. Doowaley, a seven-time winner on turf in Europe, made a middle move to take the lead in the Miami Mile, but faltered in the stretch and finished third. Still, he was beaten only 3 1/2 lengths by Band Is Passing.

Doowaley last ran in the Foundation Plan Handicap, a 1 1/16-mile race that was intended to be the prep for the 1 1/8-mile Flying Pidgeon. He stayed in the race even though it was washed off the grass and finished fourth. His chances improve with a return to the turf.

Profit Option and Mr. Pleasentfar are both stakes-caliber turf runners returning off long layoffs. Mr. Pleasentfar, who hasn't raced since February, won last year's Flying Pidgeon when it was contested at 1 3/8 miles. Nine furlongs may be too short for him.

The same is true for Profit Option, who has been idle since finishing ninth in the Grade 3 Louisville Handicap at Churchill Downs in June. Profit Option's best races have come at distances from 1 3/8 to 1 1/2 miles.

Zloty, who breaks from post 10 in the 10-horse field, comes into the Flying Pidgeon off back-to-back wins against optional claiming company, one on turf and the other on dirt. In June, Zloty finished second against stakes company at 1 1/8 miles on turf.

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