04/02/2004 12:00AM

'Good News' may travel fast


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Trainer Steve Hobby has overhauled his feeding program for Sue's Good News, and he is hopeful she will bounce back strongly from a recent defeat when she takes on six other fillies and mares Sunday in the $75,000 Bayakoa Stakes at Oaklawn Park.

"If the real Sue shows up, she'll be hard to beat," said Hobby, who trains Sue's Good News for Cresran LLC.

The Bayakoa, to be run over 1 1/16 miles, is part of the Racing Festival of the South. Made up of nine stakes worth a record $2.6 million, the festival is held over the final six days of the meet, and was to begin Saturday with the Grade 1, $500,000 Apple Blossom and the Grade 2, $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap.

Sue's Good News, who won her first three career starts at Oaklawn before going on to capture the Grade 3 Singapore Plate at Arlington Park, last raced on Feb. 14, when she finished fifth in the $50,000 Pippin Stakes and suffered muscle cramping during the race. But that was not the extent of her troubles.

Hobby had a blood sample analyzed and found that Sue's Good News had also been experiencing some blood circulation problems. On the advice of a specialist, he made some key changes with the 4-year-old filly.

"The first thing we did was stop on her for a while and let everything settle down," he said. "Then we changed her feed program, and let that soak in a little bit. We also put her on human aspirin, to help her circulation."

Hobby said her feed program is a low-carbohydrate diet, and because of that, she has lost a little weight. She has not had any further muscle-cramping problems, however.

"We haven't had any trouble with that," he said. "She's training wonderfully. She's happy and feeling good and doing great."

In her final prep for the Bayakoa, Sue's Good News worked a bullet 59.20 seconds on March 29.

Tim Doocy has the mount on Sue's Good News, a winner of 5 of 9 starts who is a half-sister to multiple stakes winner Easyfromthegitgo.

Her chief rivals appear to be Drexel Monorail, who won the Pippin two starts ago, and Cloakof Vagueness, who rallied into a slow pace to finish second in an allowance in her last start March 11. Also of note is Pampered, who has won her last two starts. Leading rider John McKee has the mount for trainer Bob Holthus.

The field is completed by La Reason, Due to Win, and Cute N Noble.