11/17/2004 12:00AM

Graded winners available for $40K

Jean Raftery/Turfotos
Predawn Raid, here winning the '03 Fred Hooper, has only an allowance victory in '04.

MIAMI - Any local owner who has a fondness for horses with some back class and an extra $40,000 to toss around might think about doing some business at the claim box in Friday's ninth race at Calder, an optional claiming race that carries a purse of $28,000.

Five of the 10 horses entered in the 1 1/16-mile event will race under a $40,000 claiming price. That group includes Predawn Raid and Puck, both Grade 3 stakes winners, as well as Island Skipper, runner-up in a pair of stakes here this summer. Extra Fighter, who placed in a Group 3 race in his native Argentina early this season, and Longford Arms will also start for the claiming price. The remainder of the field is D.L. Renzo, Chispazo, Frolic for Joy, Uncivil, and Sebastian Light.

Predawn Raid is perhaps the biggest enigma in the race. The winner of the Grade 3 Fred Hooper Handicap here in his 2003 finale, Predawn Raid was eased across the wire in each of his last two starts and was beaten 16 and 25 lengths in two of his three other outings this year. The lone bright spot for Predawn Raid this season was a wire-to-wire third-level allowance victory back in April.

Puck returned from a 25-month layoff in September and has failed to reproduce the type of form that saw him win a pair of stakes, including the Grade 3 Long Branch Handicap, during a promising 3-year-old campaign that was cut short by injury. A 5-year-old son of Mr. Greeley, Puck has been beaten by an average of nearly 16 lengths in his three starts on the comeback trail, but showed some improvement with the addition of blinkers in the Grade 3 Spend a Buck Handicap and may be ready to get back on the winning track in this softer spot.

Island Skipper finished second in both the Best of the Rest and Jatski stakes during the summer meet and also earned Beyer Speed Figures of 107 and 104 within a nine-day span in July. But he has not started since tailing all the way down to a Beyer Figure of 68 when he finished eighth in the Sumter Stakes on Sept. 26.

Along with old class, there is also no shortage of speed in Friday's main event. Island Skipper is likely to force the early pace along with Sebastian Light, Chispazo, and Frolic for Joy. Puck can be expected to get good position just off the leaders.

Sebastian Light should welcome a return to the main track following a dull showing on grass. Chispazo is the only member of the field entering the race off a win.

D.L. Renzo may be the most legitimate late threat in the lineup. He has won each of his last three starts on the main track but has yet to face the type of competition he will encounter on Friday.

Second of June works for comeback

Second of June inched closer to his much-anticipated return after working five furlongs in 1:02.40 on Tuesday morning.

Second of June has been idle since coming out of his second-place finish in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes on Feb. 14 with a condylar fracture. Trainer Bill Cesare gave Second of June plenty of time to get back in shape once the horse was given clearance to return to training in May. Tuesday's work was his fourth since that time and second straight going five furlongs.

Cesare said he has set no time frame for Second of June's return, other than mentioning the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic as a possible goal on Jan. 29.

Hotshot 2-year-old heads opener

High Fly, one of the most promising 2-year-olds to debut here in many a year, will make his second start in Saturday's opening race.

High Fly, a homebred son of Atticus owned by Live Oak Plantation and trained by Bill White, earned a 97 Beyer Figure when he launched his career with a 9 1/4-length victory on Oct. 9. High Fly will face five rivals, led by Vinotech and Dazzling Dr. Cevin, under entry level allowance conditions on Saturday.